PRAGUE, May 13. /TASS/. The conflict in Donbass has claimed about 14,000 lives, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said during his working visit to Slovakia.
"To date, about 14,000 people have been killed in Donbass. This number includes [Ukrainian armed forces] servicemen and civilian casualties. We regularly update this data," he said. Kuleba’s speech has been posted on the Slovak Foreign Ministry’s website.
The Ukrainian foreign minister also noted that Kiev was determined to achieve NATO membership, adding that support for Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the European Union among Ukrainians was growing.
Mass protests sparked in eastern Ukraine, which has a predominantly Russian-speaking population, in 2014 after President Viktor Yanukovich had been removed from power. In response, the Kiev authorities announced the beginning of a military operation in Donbass in mid-April. Massive shelling of residential areas, even with the use of aircraft, resulted in a humanitarian disaster in the region. Attempts to achieve a complete ceasefire made by the Contact Group on the settlement in eastern Ukraine have so far yielded no results.
Russia has stressed more than once that it is not a party to the intra-Ukrainian conflict in Donbass and that it is in favor of the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, which it signed as a mediator in the peaceful settlement process.