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Ukraine To Focus On Reforms Before Any Possible NATO Bid

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko greets NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg before a meeting in Kyiv on July 10.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said his country would not seek NATO membership "immediately" but would instead focus on implementing reforms.

Poroshenko, speaking in Kyiv after talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on July 10, said the government would "build a genuine program of reforms" in order to meet NATO requirements for possible future membership.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze said the same day that Ukraine seeks "partnership" with NATO.

"We have something to contribute to this system," she said.

For his part, Stoltenberg expressed NATO's support for Ukraine and called for the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and separatists receiving military, economic, and political support from Russia.

He reaffirmed that NATO members do not recognize Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.