TOKYO, March 3. /TASS/. Kiev needs to modernize its military industrial complex and carry out reforms before it starts moving towards NATO, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said on Tuesday.
"As concerns NATO, we need to modernize Ukraine, bringing its possibilities in ensuring security and its defense sectors to higher standards, the standards of NATO" he said in reply to Japanese journalists’ queries.
"After carrying out these reforms, we will decide what will be the next move towards NATO," the visiting diplomat said.
Klimkin said a trip to Japan was his first visit of an Asian country. On Monday, the Ukrainian foreign minister met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.
The minister thanked Japan for "unique financial support" that included medical equipment and grants for the development of Ukrainian medicine.
Since March 2014, Japan has allocated about $1.8 billion to Ukraine as aid in restoring infrastructure destroyed in an armed conflict in the country’s east.
Many politicians of the world have repeatedly criticized Kiev's intention of joining NATO. French President Francois Hollande told a press conference in Paris in early February that Ukraine’s NATO membership would be "undesirable" for France. "We must state it clearly, we should tell other countries the truth, including about what we are not ready to accept. This is the position of France," he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov states that Ukraine needs to maintain its non-bloc status for the country to remain united. In late January he wrote an article for Serbia’s Horizons magazine focusing on the current situation in Ukraine. "For the prevention of the further split of Ukraine the preservation of its non-aligned status is of principal importance," the article reads.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also commented on possible accession of Ukraine to NATO calling the existing Ukrainian army “a NATO legion” that has the geopolitical goal to contain Russia.