PARIS - Ukraine took a first step in the process towards joining the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on Wednesday after the OECD said it could be a prospective member.

OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann said the policy forum's 38 members decided to recognise Ukraine as a prospective member following a request from Kyiv.

After an initial accession dialogue, member countries would then consider opening accession discussions and preparing a draft roadmap for joining, Cormann said in a statement.

The accession procedure is complex and can be long with prospective members required to demonstrate or bring their policies up to OECD standards in such areas as anti-bribery measures, tax, the environment and statistics.

Gaining access to the organisation is considered recognition that a country's economy has reached a level on par with other developed, industrialised countries that make up its members.

"The OECD remains committed to Ukraine and its people. We support its reconstruction and recovery efforts and hope for the quick restoration of peace and stability across the whole of the sovereign territory of Ukraine," Cormann said.

OECD members closed Russia's accession process after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February. Russia's efforts to join had been suspended since Moscow seized Crimea in 2014.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)