Speaking before the parliament on Friday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the death toll in Ukraine’s separatist war that erupted last year in April was almost 7,000 people.
The Ukrainian president claimed that more than 1,000 people remained unaccounted in the recent figures released by the United Nations as of 6,100.
Poroshenko added that 1,657 Ukrainian troops had also been killed by the separatist forces which he described as an extension of the Russian aggression.
Russia denies its support and involvement for the separatist forces in the Donbass region where ethnically Russian-speaking majority declared self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics.
The Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has undertaken a peacebuilding mission in the Donbass region since the Minsk ceasefires sealed first in September 2014 and then in February 2015.
The Minsk ceasefire agreement has calmed down the situation between the belligerents even if the fragile peace was violated by both Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol.
The Ukrainian leadership still suspects that whether Moscow abides by the agreed armistice in Minsk since sporadic violations have recently increased again in the east of the country.
In the wake of the separatist civil war, Poroshenko has repeatedly voiced his country’s membership aspiration in the NATO alliance and said in April he will present such decision to a nation-wide referendum.
Poroshenko reiterated on Wednesday that his country’s membership in the Euro-Atlantic Alliance must be incorporated to the national security document during a National Security and Defense Council meeting in Kiev.
"Our security strategy must ensure the opportunity of NATO membership in the future. We must finally return this important component to the given document,” said the Ukrainian president.
"Given that the Russian threat is long-term and considering that the aggressive stance and policy of the Russian Federation poses a major threat to national security, the strategy aims to reach full compatibility in the security and defense sectors of Ukraine and NATO," Poroshenko said.
Under Russia’s geopolitical reserves and military pressure, Ukraine’s former deposed president Viktor Yanukovych had adopted a non-aligned status in 2010, which limited Kiev to joining possible security alliances against Moscow.
But the country abandoned its non-aligned status by turning its face to the NATO at the end of the last year when the separatist war was escalated between Kiev government and the pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region.