Ukraine pledges to reform as it aims to join NATO

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko announced the country's intention to start discussions with NATO about an action plan, which could help the country join the Alliance, on 10 July. He also noted that necessary reforms required for acceptance into NATO's ranks should be finished by 2020.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that he insists on de-escalation of the situation in Donbas in his speech directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Kiev. Similar efforts were made by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron during the G20 summit. The Western leaders demand strict compliance with the Minsk agreement, especially the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the frontline. Moreover, Russia has to guarantee that OSCE observers can conduct their activities in full scale without any obstacles. However, Ukrainian efforts to join NATO can make the whole situation more difficult, as Russia most likely will not leave these efforts without a response. Russia also criticises the planned joint arms development programmes with NATO countries and U.S. weapon supplies to Ukraine. Some experts doubt Ukraine’s ability to finish reforms by 2020, as their defence capabilities are in poor condition.

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