Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration requires progress on important reforms, the U.S. Embassy underlines.
"Ukraine is an important NATO partner, critical to the Black Sea and wider transatlantic security. Progress on difficult but rewarding reforms remains necessary to further advance Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration. We welcome Ukraine's contributions and intention to join NATO, as enshrined in Ukrainian Constitution," the embassy tweeted on February 18.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview for Axios on the U.S.-based HBO channel that Ukraine wants to be an equal member of NATO. "We are grateful for everything, but Ukraine is not just saying in words that it wants to be an equal member of the Alliance, an equal member of NATO, because this is one of the most important security points – the same security that President [of the United States Joe] Biden is speaking about. How should we further state the desire to accede, if it is enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine – the movement towards the European Union, European integration, as well as accession to NATO? Therefore, I have a very simple question – why is Ukraine still not in NATO? Putting away these phrases that we will all contemplate and communicate, the first simple question from me would be: 'Mr. President, why are we not in NATO yet?'" he said then.
Zelensky expressed the hope that during Biden's presidency, Ukraine and the United States would enter a new stage of security enhancing relations.
On February 9, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine needed to focus on reform to get closer to NATO, whose "door remains open", including to strengthen democratic institutions, fight corruption, and introduce democratic political control over the Armed Forces.
At the same time, on February 17, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on NATO Allies not to keep the decision to provide a Membership Action Plan to Ukraine "hostage" of Russian myths about eastward expansion.