The NATO membership will protect Macedonia from Russia’s interference in Macedonia’s internal affairs, said the Minister of Defence, Radmila Šekerinska , in an interview with the Bloomberg news agency.

“We’ve seen some leaks, even before the government was elected, about Russian attempts for influence in key political and security areas. And we have been concerned about them. We believe Macedonian NATO membership can put an end to these attempts” – said Shekjerinska.

She said that the government led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev is trying to improve the relations with Greece and in a time span of 9 months to implement the reforms in order for the country to become a NATO member faster.

The country needs to address issues regarding the rule of law and judicial independence that are now seen as a problem for Macedonia’s NATO entry. We’ll stay committed to making these reforms a reality, but we’ll keep asking NATO member states to appreciate these efforts, take into account the results and make decisions as soon as possible- said Šekerinska .

The Minister of Defense said that Macedonia will follow the example of Montenegro, a country that became a member of NATO and that the country in 2018 will start boosting defense spending in 2018 from below 1 percent of the gross domestic product.