Home Finance Zelensky seeks arms co-production, support at Balkan summit – DW – 02/29/2024

Zelensky seeks arms co-production, support at Balkan summit – DW – 02/29/2024

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested financial aid and military supplies to counter Russian aggression at the Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit in Tirana, AlbaniaWednesday.

The Ukrainian president accepted the invitation of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to join the leaders of 10 Southeast European countries at the summit in the Albanian capital.

On Wednesday, discussions focused on the issue of support for kyiv on the occasion of the second anniversary of Full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Zelensky launches idea of ​​joint arms production

Speaking at the summit, Zelensky called for urgently sending weapons to Ukraine to ensure “its survival”.

“The more Putin observes our shortcomings, the more he might believe he can challenge Europe and the West,” he said.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama (right) welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (left) before their meeting, Tirana, Albania, Wednesday, February 28, 2024.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) is greeted by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama (right), whom Zelensky called an “unwavering friend of Ukraine” Image: Armando Babani/AP Photo/photo alliance

The Ukrainian president also expressed interest in joint production of weapons with the Western Balkan countries and all partners of Ukraine. “We propose to organize a special defense industry forum between Ukraine and the Balkans, either in kyiv or in one of your capitals,” Zelensky said.

Albanian PM calls for continued support for Kyiv

In support of the Ukrainian leader, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama urged regional states to continue providing financial and military support to Ukraine, which has been facing Russian aggression since February 2022.

“We must not let Russia win and Ukraine lose! Its survival depends on financial and military support,” Rama said, adding that aid to Ukraine should not depend on domestic political issues of individual states .

“I note with concern that this support is slowing because Ukraine is becoming a political issue between one country and another,” he said.

Threat of Russian destabilization

Speaking at the press conference following the summit, Zelensky warned Balkan countries to remain vigilant against possible Russian attacks. destabilization efforts.

“Russia will not stop. It is drawing the consequences of the mistakes it made on Ukrainian territory and will further destabilize, using other tactics,” he declared before calling on the States of Balkans to unite to face this threat.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic attends a joint press conference with German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius in Belgrade, Serbia, February 7, 2024.
The 12-point declaration at the end of the summit was also signed by Aleksandar Vucic, President of Serbia, who has so far refused to impose sanctions against Russia.Image: Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo/photo alliance

Albanian Prime Minister Rama also addressed this topic. “You have seen in the region how Russian influence has sowed instability in one country or another,” he said before emphasizing the need for Western Balkan countries to unite and continue their aspiration to join the European Union.

Leaders agree on joint declaration

Leaders of Southeast European countries at the summit reiterated their support for Ukraine and agreed on their stance against Russian aggression in a 12-point joint declaration. The statement was also signed by Aleksandar Vucic, president of Serbiawhich has so far refused to impose sanctions against Russia.

“We call on the entire international community to strongly increase its support for Ukraine in its continued struggle for freedom, independence and territorial integrity,” said the joint statement, which also addressed the issue of the struggle against disinformation, including false narratives about war. and cybersecurity challenges, which impact the stability and security of the international community.

Albania and Ukraine sign friendship and cooperation treaty

Rama and Zelensky also signed a “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of Albania and Ukraine” before the summit.

Zelensky: 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers dead since the start of the war

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The two countries agreed to expand cooperation in various fields, including trade, culture, education, environment, health, media, sports and tourism.

“The treaty serves to consolidate the friendship between the two countries and their peoples, through the expansion and strengthening of cooperation in various areas of common interest,” the leaders said in a statement released to the media.

Zelenskyy, writing on X, formerly Twitter, said the deal would “strengthen cooperation with Albania and Ukraine’s position in the Balkans.”

Albania, a NATO member since 2009 and candidate for EU membership, has been one of Ukraine’s most loyal and consistent supporters since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022.

The second day of the Tirana summit (Thursday) will be devoted to the theme of relations between the Western Balkan states and the European Union. Leaders of Western Balkan states that are not members of the EU will discuss the bloc’s economic growth plan in the Western Balkans.

Edited by: Aingeal Flanagan

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