Eleven Balkan leaders, joined by EU officials, issue Athens Declaration

Bottom row from left, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, European Council President Charles Michel, President of Moldova Maia Sandu, President of Montenegro Jakov Milatovic and top row from left, President of Romania Marcel Ciolacu, Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovacevski, Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti, Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Borjana Kristo and Prime Minister of Bulgaria Nikolai Denkov pose for a family photo at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. [Thanassis Stavrakis/AP]

Eleven leaders of Balkan countries including Greece meeting in Athens expressed their "unwavering support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, based on the values of democracy and rule of law" in the face of Russian aggression, on Monday night.

After an informal dinner held by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the 11 leaders issued the Athens Declaration statement in which also agreed "there can be no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities" and said all those responsible must be held accountable.

In the presence of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, they underlined "the importance of setting (…) a target for the completion of the vision of an EU enriched with the Western Balkans, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova."

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