President Petro Poroshenko says joining NATO is Ukraine's strategic goal.
"Our strategic goal is NATO membership", Poroshenko said in his address to the parliament on 6 September.
He described NATO membership as a "guiding light" as steadfast as the North Star in the sky.
Over the past 2.5 years the number of supporters of NATO accession has increased substantially and is already much higher than the number of opponents, the president said and admitted the existence of considerable regional differences in popular perception as regards Ukraine's accession to the Alliance.
"Meanwhile, the Alliance has no consensus on Ukraine's membership as well. Yes, formally the doors are open after the Bucharest summit in 2008, but there is a door sensor that can shut the door in case our approximation is too sharp. Therefore, every step of ours should be weighed and calculated to avoid flops the way it was with the membership action plan eight years ago," warned the head of state.
In summer, Poroshenko said Ukraine for the time being would not raise the issue of joining NATO.
According to a March poll by Gorshenin Institute, less than half of Ukrainians are in favour of NATO accession. In a referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO, 47.1% of Ukrainians would be in favour, with 35.4% against, and 11.6% undecided. The rest would not have come to a referendum.
In 2015, Poroshenko said Ukraine needed 6-7 years to prepare to join NATO.