Ukraine has lost 173 of its troops in Donbas since the beginning of 2016, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said during a visit to Sweden.
This is the result of more than 12,000 ceasefire violations by the enemy, he said.
He was describing the situation in eastern Ukraine at a meeting with Sweden's chief of Defense Staff Dennis Gyllensporre in Stockholm, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
"Today Russia continues [pursuing] the policy of deliberately escalating the conflict. Since the beginning of 2016, Russian troops have violated the ceasefire more than 12,000 times, which led to 173 of our troops being killed. Some 6,000 members of the Russian Armed Forces are in Ukraine illegally," Poltorak said.
Moscow insists that there are no Russian troops and weapons in Ukraine.
Read also: 623 Ukrainian servicemen from military, security forces killed in Donbas in 2016 - Defense Minister
Meanwhile, Ukraine continues peaceful efforts to resolve the conflict, Poltorak said. "Our country's efforts are aimed at strict compliance with the requirements of the Minsk agreements and solving the problems solely politically and peacefully," he said.
The parties also discussed a plan for bilateral cooperation such as assistance in training tactical-medicine specialists, resuming cooperation on environmental safety and the defense reform.
Poltorak invited the Swedish chief of Defense Staff to visit Ukraine to meet with the Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of the General Staff, Viktor Muzhenko.