Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has appealed to the European Commission to provide urgent assistance to Ukraine in the fight against the swine flu pandemic, a government spokesman said.

According to latest data, the outbreak of swine flu, which hit Ukraine last week, has claimed the lives of at least 70 people.

"The nature of this threat, in my opinion, demands urgent measures at the EU level, which will serve the interests of both Ukraine and the European Union," Tusk said in a letter addressed to President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Tusk earlier said in a phone conversation with Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko that his country and other EU members were ready to increase the supply of anti-flu medicine to Kiev.

While Poland appealed to the EU leadership, Slovakia, which is another EU country bordering Ukraine, closed two pedestrian border crossings with the H1N1 virus-hit country and ordered spot medical checks at others.

Ukraine's Deputy Health Minister Vasil Lozoryshynets said on Monday that at least 255,000 flu cases had been reported in the country, with 15,000 receiving treatment at a hospital and 170 being admitted to intensive care units.

The government has imposed quarantines in nine western provinces to curb the spread of swine flu, which originated in the Tirnopol Region.

All education establishments in the capital, Kiev, were closed on Monday until further notice due to the flu pandemic. Wearing medical masks has been a must in all catering places, shops and social services facilities across Ukraine since Friday.

President Viktor Yushchenko has requested help from other countries.

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