NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke at the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev, on Thursday.

"As a sovereign nation, Ukraine has the right to choose its own security arrangements. NATO’s door remains open. The road to NATO membership is not easy. For those who seek it, it requires dedication and substantial reform," Stoltenberg said, noting that it's a matter for Ukraine only with on outside interference from any other country allowed.

He went on to say that the path to NATO membership is not easy. According to Stoltenberg, countries aspiring to NATO membership should establish some reforms.

Commenting on relations between Russia and Ukraine, Stoltenberg stated that the Russian side is responsible for the “Minsk Protocol,” so it “must end its support for the militants and mercenaries in the east” immediately.

He also urged Ukrainian MPs to unite and act in the interests of their country's citizens. "You are not sleeping. You stand up for your values. Ukraine stands up for the future. And NATO stands by your side," finished Stoltenberg. His speech included quotations from Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.

The NATO Secretary General was addressing Ukrainian deputies in the Verkhovna Rada for the first time since 2017.

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