Interfax-Ukraine

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Pentagon chief to visit Tbilisi, Kyiv to call for reforms necessary for NATO membership.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, during his visit to Georgia and Ukraine next week, will urge these countries to carry out the transformations necessary to qualify for NATO membership, the Pentagon has said.

"Austin will stress in both Georgia and Ukraine that there is an open door to NATO and encourage the nations to make the changes necessary for them to qualify for membership in the defensive alliance," the U.S. Department of Defense has reported.

As reported, Austin will visit Romania and Belgium after Ukraine and Georgia. In Brussels, the head of the Pentagon will hold a meeting with the defense ministers of the NATO countries. According to the Pentagon, this meeting is expected to discuss Russia, as well as problems from China.

Earlier, the Pentagon said Austin was going on a trip to Europe that weekend. In Georgia, he will meet with Prime Minister of this country Irakli Garibashvili and Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze, and in Ukraine with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Andriy Taran.

In Romania he will meet with President Klaus Iohannis and Defense Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca.

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