Poroshenko: Ukraine needs NATO weapons

KYIV, February 5 /Ukrinform/.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko insists on supplying modern weapons to Ukraine by NATO members.

He said this in an interview published in Die Welt on Thursday.

According to the President, the escalation of the situation in Donbas together with a sharp increase in the number of civilian casualties would have to encourage the Alliance to provide Ukraine with more support, in particular, with supply of weapons. Poroshenko noted that NATO would have to supply Ukraine with "modern weapons for the protection and defense against the aggressor", and Ukraine needs significant military, technical and professional assistance to improve the combat capability of the Ukrainian army countering Russian aggression.

Ukrainian President stressed that Kyiv wants peace. "The world is worth defending, and we need a strong army with new modern weapons to do this," he said. According to Poroshenko, from 5,000 to 9,000 Russian soldiers with a great amount of weapons are now within the territory of Ukraine. Regarding this, he warned about the consequences of a "hybrid war" and said that NATO's understanding of the seriousness of the danger of escalation of the situation in Europe is very important. "Kyiv requires solidarity and consensus on the part of the EU. The determining factor is the continuation of efforts aimed at persuading Russia to stop this senseless war," the president said.

Kyiv, in turn, is ready to negotiate in a "Normandy format," Poroshenko assured. He also said that to achieve this, the progress should be made in implementation of the Minsk agreements which were signed by the representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR. Therefore, in his opinion, in order to achieve a truce, it is necessary to cease fire, withdraw foreign troops from the territory of Ukraine, withdraw heavy weapons from the contact line, close borders and release the hostages.

The President also said about Germany's key role in resolving the situation in Donbas. Poroshenko thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her active contribution to the efforts to stop "aggression against Ukraine." Poroshenko said that over the past eight months he had more than 50 meetings and telephone conversations with Angela Merkel, in particular about the negotiations in the "Normandy format."

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