Zelensky to rally for support, weapons at Balkan security meet

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is due to meet with Balkan leaders in Albania on Wednesday, seeking to keep support and weapons flowing to Kiev as Russia makes gains on the battlefield two years after invading its neighbour.

Zelensky has been crisscrossing the globe in recent weeks to rally support for his beleaguered country, as Ukraine's armed forces face a critical shortage of ammunition and struggle to hold back Russia's military advances on the ground.

He arrived in Albania late Tuesday and on Wednesday was set to meet in Tirana with several leaders from across the region during the "Ukraine-Southeast Europe Summit" — his first visit to the Balkan nation since Russia's invasion in February 2022.

"Today I am working in Tirana. I will meet Ukraine's unwavering friend, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, and attend the Ukraine-South-East Europe summit," Zelensky wrote on X, saying he would also hold bilateral talks with the summit's participants.

Zelensky's visit is "a pivotal moment for fostering bilateral ties, and standing in solidarity with Ukraine in its heroic fight against Russia's aggression", Albania's Foreign Minister Igli Hasani said late Tuesday after the Ukrainian president arrived in Tirana.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine but has stayed largely quiet in public about supplying Kiev with arms.

During a visit to Albania earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Tirana's backing of Ukraine.

"It was one of the first countries to send military aid to Ukraine in the wake of the Russian aggression — guns, ammunition, mine resistant vehicles — and it's currently one of the top ten per capita in terms of its support for Ukraine and...

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