Defence Minister reveals new statistics on casualties during pseudo truce in eastern Ukraine
173 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed since the beginning of 2016, Ukraine's Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said during a meeting with the Chief of the Defence Staff of the Armed Forces of Sweden Dennis Gyllensporre held in Stockholm, the press service of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry reports.
"Today Russia pursues its policy of deliberate escalation of the conflict. Since the beginning of 2016, the Russian occupation troops violated the ceasefire more than 12,000 times, which resulted in the death of 173 [Ukrainian] soldiers," said Poltorak.
He has also said that 6,000 Russian troops stay illegally in the Ukrainian territory at this time. The Ukrainian delegation also showed their Swedish counterparts "a video, which clearly shows how military equipment and weapons, vehicles with logistical supplies get through the state border with Russia into the occupied territory of Ukraine". However, Poltorak said that Ukraine continues the policy of a peaceful settlement.
The parties also discussed the plan of the Ukrainian-Swedish cooperation. In particular, the assistance to Ukraine in training tactical medics, the resumption of cooperation in the field of environmental safety and other issues have been discussed.
Ukraine's Defence Minister invited the Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces of Sweden to visit Ukraine.
In turn, Dennis Gyllensporre noted that Ukraine is passing a major test, and at the same time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are actively developing. Stressing readiness to share experience, especially with regard to interoperability with NATO member states, he said the Swedish side was pleased to accept the invitation to further enhance cooperation.
Reporting by UNIAN