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Zelensky arrives in Albania ahead of security conference

TIRANA, Albania, February 28 ------ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Albania ahead of a security conference, his first visit to the Balkan nation since Russia's invasion. 


In a post on social media, Albania's Foreign Minister Igli Hasani called the Ukrainian leader's arrival in Tirana "a pivotal moment for fostering bilateral ties, and standing in solidarity with Ukraine in its heroic fight against Russia’s aggression". 


Zelensky has been criss-crossing 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. In Tirana on Wednesday, Zelensky is to meet with several leaders from across the region during the "Ukraine-Southeast Europe Summit". 


Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine but has stayed largely quiet in public about supplying Kyiv with arms. During a visit to Albania earlier this month, US 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 security assistance," Blinken said. Before arriving in Tirana, the Ukrainian president touched down in Saudi Arabia, where he sought to promote his peace plan and discuss potential prisoner of war exchanges. 


Saudi Arabia maintains relations with both Russia and Ukraine and has mediated between the warring parties before, including a deal struck in September 2022 that saw the release of more than 200 captive Ukrainians.   





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