A top NATO commander warned May 27 that "continual attacks" against Ukraine were impeding Kyiv's efforts to modernize its army enough to one day join the Western military alliance.
NATO's political affairs and security chief Thrasyvoulos Terry Stamatopoulos told a defense meeting in Kyiv on May 27, "We are well aware of the formidable challenges that Ukraine is facing."
"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 denies.
Meanwhile, a Kyiv military spokesman said one Ukrainian serviceman has been killed and eight other have been wounded in attacks by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine despite a cease-fire brokered in February in Minsk.
Military spokesman Oleksander Motuzyanyk said at a briefing that separatists were keeping up regular attacks on government forces outside the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk and in the southeast near the strategic port city of Mariupol.