14:33 28 Feb 2024

Zelensky offers Western Balkan countries to hold joint defense industries forum

President Zelensky at the summit in Albania. Photo: Screenshot from the video / Telegram / Zelensky / Official

Ukraine has proposed to the Western Balkan countries to hold a joint defense industry forum, which could take place in Kyiv or one of the Balkan capitals.

President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about this at the Ukraine-Southeast Europe Summit as he visits Albania on Wednesday, Rubryka reports.

"Amid the full-scale war, we proved that it's possible to withstand and overcome even an enemy that seemed to be one of the strongest in the world. Every nation can be successful in defense when different nations cooperate and people are motivated enough to be resilient," said the Ukrainian leader. "We propose to combine and strengthen our experience. We are proud to have about 500 defense companies operating in Ukraine in various fields. And each of them adds strength."

Zelensky added that this was not enough to defeat Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The president said there were problems with ammunition supply, which affected the situation on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian leader emphasized that Ukraine was interested in cooperation with Balkan countries and all partners, and its government team would present the details.

"We propose to hold a special Ukrainian-Balkan defense industries forum in Kyiv or one of your capitals," Zelensky said.

The president stressed that everything that makes countries good partners also weakens Putin.

Зеленський на саміті в Албанії

President Zelensky at the summit in Albania. Photo: Screenshot from the video / Telegram / Zelensky / Official

"That's why he invests so much in crises. He knows exactly what serves his interests. We need to see exactly what works in our interests. And that's how we'll be protected," said Zelensky.

Zelensky's visit to Albania

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Albania on February 28 for an unannounced visit for the first time since Russia's full-scale invasion began.

Zelensky will participate in the Ukraine-Southeastern Europe Summit in support of Ukraine.

"A significant number of leaders from this part of Europe will be invited to the summit, and President Zelensky will be a co-organizer and co-chair of the event, which is particularly important in today's context," Albanian Foreign Minister Igli Hasani said.

Regional leaders from Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia will attend the summit. However, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will not be present, instead sending a "representative at a low diplomatic level."

The Ukrainian president has already met with the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama. They signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Albania during the meeting.

Also, Zelensky announced on Telegram that they also discussed Ukraine's defense needs and the possibility of joint production of weapons.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama stated in an interview ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to the country that the Western Balkans are ready to contribute to the fight against Russia amid European and Western "excuses" and "constraints" about aid to Ukraine because EU member states need this region for their security.

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