"I think it's important now that we take it step by step - the most important and urgent step is to ensure that Ukraine prevails, and that's exactly what we are doing," Stoltenberg said, following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest.
"We need to develop closer and closer partnership, both political and practical, with Ukraine. This will strengthen their institutions, it will help them to move from Soviet-era equipment standards to modern NATO standards. This is good for Ukraine, it's good to increase operational comparability, and it will also help Ukraine move closer to (NATO) membership," Stoltenberg noted.
At the 2008 Bucharest Summit, NATO states confirmed that Georgia and Ukraine were eligible for membership in the alliance, but postponed the solution to the issue indefinitely. In June, NATO leaders at a summit in Brussels supported the right of both countries to join the alliance. They also stated the need to continue with the relevant reforms in the countries, but did not give the timing of the possible entry of the states into the organization.