Ukraine’s president needs to speed up the country’s path to NATO membership to send a “real signal to Russia”.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the call after discussing rising tensions in eastern Ukraine with the military alliance’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.
More than 13,000 people are killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began in 2014 after a pro-Western revolution in Kyiv and Moscow’s occupation of Crimea.
“In recent weeks, we have seen a very bad aim to increase the number of ceasefire violations by the Russian invasion forces and the number of Ukrainian supporters killed,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.
On Tuesday, two more military officers were shot dead in fighting with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, the country’s army said.
Ukraine’s army has attacked the separatists of shooting on Ukrainian positions with machine guns and grenade launchers.
The deaths come amid rising forces and clashes along the frontline, raising fears of escalating the conflict.
Zelinsky also called on NATO member nations to strengthen their military presence in the Black Sea region.
“Such a permanent home should be a strong deterrent to Russia, which continues the large-scale militarization of the country and hinders trade shipping,” said Zelinsky.
“We are dedicated to reforming our army and defence sector, but reforms alone package stop Russia,” Zelenskyy said.
“NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbas. The MAP (membership action plan for joining NATO) will be a real signal for Russia.”
Responding to Zelenskyy’s NATO remarks, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian position, told reporters: “We very doubt that this can help Ukraine to solve its inherent problem. From our point of view, it will make the situation even worse.”
Ukraine has accused Russia of making up its forces near Ukraine’s eastern borders in recent weeks and in the Crimean land annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Russia claims that its troop tendencies on their own are not intimidating and says Kyiv is liable for the impacts on the front line.
However, the United States, the United Kingdom, and NATO countries have all sent their support for Ukraine.