Brussels: Ukrainian forces are doing what they can to respect the peace agreement signed in Minsk, while that country’s pro-Russian separatists, with Russian backing, are violating it, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday.

The secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization told reporters on his arrival at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels that he hopes Ukraine will continue on the path of reform, since they are doing what they can to implement the Minsk agreements.

The challenge, he said, is that the separatists and Russia are violating the ceasefire, and failing to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

Foreign ministers of NATO member nations were planning Tuesday to set up five trust funds to improve Ukrainian defence institutions.

They are also likely to discuss via video conference with the Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister, Pavel Klimkin, the priorities of Kiev’s new government, “because it is an important partner to NATO”, the NATO chief said.

NATO fully supports Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and strongly condemns any violations of the internationally-recognized Ukrainian borders, Stoltenberg said.

The secretary-general also added that NATO is supporting Ukraine in order to defend itself while many allies are giving bilateral support to Kiev and imposing sanctions against Russia.

According to Stoltenberg, there is a need to monitor Ukraine’s internationally-recognised national borders.

He also called on Russia to respect the ceasefire and stop providing separatists with military equipment.