Zelensky co-hosts summit in Albania seeking more war support

28 February 2024, 11:04

Zelensky and Rama
Albania Ukraine Summit. Picture: PA

The Ukrainian leader hailed his Albanian counterpart as he continues an international tour to seek backing in the face of the Russian invasion.

Ukraine’s President has co-hosted a summit with the Albanian government to encourage further support for Kyiv from south-eastern European countries, as signs of fatigue grow two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Mr Zelensky arrived as part of an international tour that saw him in Saudi Arabia earlier on Tuesday to push for a peace plan and the return of prisoners of war from Russia.

The Ukrainian leader called Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama “Ukraine’s unwavering friend” in a message on X, adding the two would “discuss defence and political cooperation, support for the Peace Formula, and security agreements”.

“I will propose supporting Ukraine’s efforts to achieve just and lasting peace, as well as organizing the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland,” he said, referring to the summit.

Mr Zelensky and Mr Rama also signed a friendship and cooperation agreement “to strengthen our cooperation with Albania and Ukraine’s position in the Balkans”.

The Ukrainian leader also awarded Mr Rama the “Yaroslav the Wise” medal for his contribution to Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky is accompanied by his foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Mr Rama wrote on Facebook that he was proud to welcome Mr Zelensky for “a solidarity meeting and to further the commitment of our democracies against Russian aggression”.

Securing further support is key to Ukraine’s leader while his country faces battlefield challenges. On Sunday, Mr Zelensky announced that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in action since Russia’s invasion – the first time that Kyiv had confirmed the number of its losses.

Ukraine has urged Western leaders to increase the joint production of weapons and ammunition, improve Ukrainian air defences and put new pressure on Russia via expanded sanctions.

The head of Nato has said the US-led military alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine, and Germany, Poland and other countries this week have said the same.

Volodymyr Zelensky
Mr Zelensky is pushing for more support from south-eastern Europe (AP)

Eleven countries from south-eastern Europe, including some of Ukraine’s neighbours, attended the Albania summit, three of them with online messages, along with officials from the European Union and other international institutions.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken visited Albania earlier this month.

But not all the countries are in full support for Ukraine in its war against Russia. Kremlin ally Serbia is the only European country that has refused to align with EU sanctions following Russia’s invasion. It continues signing cooperation agreements with Moscow.

Albania, a Nato member since 2009 and a candidate for EU membership, has voiced its full support for Kyiv against Russia’s invasion.

It has provided military assistance in the form of ammunition and training of Ukrainian military. It was among the first countries offering shelter to Ukrainian refugees. It has joined international sanctions against Russian officials and institutions.

As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in the last two years, Albania joined the US in initiating resolutions against Russia’s invasion.

By Press Association

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