Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.jpg
Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman
Photograph: EPA/KAY NIETFELD

Ukraine must push for quick accession to NATO, the country's prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, said in an interview Saturday with Funke Mediengruppe newspapers.

Groysman said Ukraine must keep the door to NATO open, pointing also to the reforms undertaken by Kiev to modernize its army.

He said he hoped that the 28-member Western military alliance would provide a clear strategy for Ukraine at its summit next week in Warsaw.

Kiev has shown increasing support for NATO in recent years after Russia annexed its southern peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and supported separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Last month, Ukraine said it was ready to contribute to NATO's plans - to be finalized in Warsaw - to step up its troop presence in Eastern Europe.

Russia has repeatedly denounced NATO's eastern expansion as a threat to its national security.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will attend the Warsaw summit, which is expected to endorse NATO assistance to Ukraine.

Groysman warned against easing sanctions against Russia, saying they must be maintained until Moscow respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Russia has denied that it is fuelling the conflict with supplies of weapons and troops for the separatists.

Ukraine was a single, united country, Groysman added, as he ruled out special status for Crimea and said there would be no elections and self-governance as long as Russia was stoking war in the east.

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