Poroshenko says too early for Ukraine to apply for NATO membership
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko considers premature the move to apply for Ukraine's accession to NATO as the country is yet to live up to the high criteria required to qualify for membership, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"Of course, as the country's president, I must take care of our national security. I'd like to note that we have a lot of work ahead of us, since the criteria for qualifying for NATO membership are extremely high," he said at a joint press conference with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Kharkiv on Friday.
The president added that these criteria almost coincide with those for securing membership in the European Union.
"Therefore, the reforms we are making to adapt our legislation to the EU are the same reforms [Ukraine needs for NATO membership]," Poroshenko said.
"Let's not talk today about the formal side of the application, but what Ukraine needs to do in order to reform our state so that it meets the criteria that are required for membership," the president added.
As was reported, the Verkhovna Rada has set NATO membership as a strategic objective of the country's foreign policy in a bill, passed on June 8, thus abolishing the country's non-aligned status.
The bill was backed by 276 lawmakers in the 450-seat legislature. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he wants to meet NATO entry requirements by 2020 and has promised to hold a referendum on the accession.
In turn, NATO said it had taken note of the decision by the Verkhovna Rada on NATO membership and stressed that reforms remained a priority for Kyiv.