KIEV, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine, which plans to hold a referendum on whether to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), must carry out a series of reforms before its bid can be accepted for consideration, a senior alliance's official has said.
"We believe that a large number of steps still need to be made in the reform process, especially in security and defense," Alexander Vinnikov, the head of the NATO Representation to Ukraine, said in an interview with local media, published on Thursday.
At the same time, he pointed out that in the past few years, Kiev has made remarkable progress in implementing reforms, which brought Ukraine closer to the NATO standards.
In 2014, when the conflict started in its eastern regions, the Ukrainian parliament abandoned the country's non-aligned status, paving the way for it to join military blocs.
Besides, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has set a target to switch Ukraine's army to NATO standards by 2020.
Last week, Poroshenko said he intended to hold a referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO.