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Ukraine still facing 'continual attacks' on its territory: NATO

27 may 2015, 15:58

 A top NATO commander warned Wednesday that "continual attacks" against Ukraine were hampering Kiev's efforts to modernise its army enough to one day join the Western military alliance, AFP reports.

"We are well aware of the formidable challenges that Ukraine is facing," NATO's political affairs and security chief Thrasyvoulos Terry Stamatopoulos told the start of a defence meeting in Kiev.

"It's not easy to launch wide-ranging reforms while managing a major conflict and deterring continual attacks against your territorial integrity," he said in reference to the West's repeated accusation of Russia being behind Ukraine's separatist war -- a charge Moscow denied.

The assistance secretary general's visit to Kiev comes three months into a ceasefire that has managed to scale down but not completely halt the pro-Russian uprising that has claimed nearly 6,300 lives in Ukraine's industrial east.

Russian President Vladimir Putin firmly denies either orchestrating or supporting the conflict in order to weaken the pro-Western leadership that toppled a Moscow-backed president in February 2014.

The Kremlin now hopes that the ceasefire's ability to stem the worst bloodshed will prompt the European Union to lift some of the more punishing sanctions against Russia in the next few months.

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