: It will take years to settle Donbas conflict: Ukraine's Defence Minister

12:25 Apr. 21, 2016

It will take years to settle Donbas conflict: Ukraine's Defence Minister

Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak as he speaks to the foreign media in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 20, 2016. (AP Photo)

Stepan Poltorak states there are 7,000 Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine, who are in constant rotation

Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak says it could take years to resolve Russian-orchestrated conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking to foreign journalists in Kyiv on Wednesday, Poltorak said that Russia still has thousands of its troops in Ukraine's Donbas.

"There are more than 7,000 Russian servicemen. And they sustain constant rotation," the minister said according to DW.

Poltorak warned about more attacks by Russian-backed separatist forces, aimed to provoke Ukrainian servicemen to return fire. Militants use such cases to portrait Ukrainian side as the one who violates Minsk peace agreements.

Read also Two Years of War: Human cost of Russia's undeclared war in Ukraine's Donbas (Infographics)

The defence minister also said that Ukraine is in critical need of lethal military aid from the West, but currently, the foreign partners are reluctant to supply weapons.

"As to lethal weapons, of course, we need it. But it is hard to say if it is possible. I think, that at this stage it is practically impossible," Poltorak stated.

According to Ukrainian military command, in the past 24 hours combined Russian-militant forces attacked Ukrainian army positions 33 times.

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