Russia warns Ukraine against joining Nato

Moscow - Ukraine's renewed drive to join Nato risks derailing progress made towards reaching a ceasefire and peace deal to end the conflict in the east of the country, Russia's foreign minister said on Thursday.

"Just when approaches are being explored to start resolving concrete problems between Kiev and the rebels, Kiev has called for ending its non-aligned status and beginning joining Nato," said Sergei Lavrov.

"This is an obvious attempt to derail efforts to start a dialogue on ensuring national security," Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

He added Russia hopes that Kiev and the rebels would take on board a seven-point peace plan suggested by President Vladimir Putin when they meet on Friday for talks in Minsk.

Lavrov's comments came as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was set to address Nato leaders at a summit in Wales.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said last week that he would ask parliament to drop the country's non-alignment policy and endorse a Nato membership bid.

Such a move would rile Russia, which has demanded that Ukraine remain neutral.

Nato offered Ukraine full membership in 2008, when Russia went to war against another former Soviet state, Georgia, but in 2010 then president Viktor Yanukovych opted for a non-aligned policy.