In the middle of an international tour, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is taking part in a security conference in Albania on Wednesday February 28, his first trip to the Balkans since the Russian invasion launched two years ago.

Albanian Foreign Minister Igli Hasani announced his arrival Tuesday evening in Tirana, assuring that his country "stands in solidarity with Ukraine in its heroic fight against Russia", in a message on social networks.

Volodymyr Zelensky has been traveling the world in recent weeks to rally support for Ukraine, whose armed forces are facing a lack of ammunition and weapons, in their fight against the advance of Russian forces on the ground.

He is expected at the summit of Western Balkan leaders which takes place until Thursday in the Albanian capital.

Albania, fervent supporter of Ukraine

A member of NATO since 2009, Albania is a fervent supporter of Ukraine in the face of the Russian offensive, but its leaders have remained discreet on the subject of supplying arms to kyiv.

During the mid-February visit to Albania, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Albania's support for Ukraine.

“Albania was one of the first countries that sent military aid to Ukraine after Russian aggression, weapons, ammunition, armored vehicles,” declared Antony Blinken, adding that this country was among the ten biggest supporters of Ukraine, in proportion to the number of inhabitants.

This trip to the Balkans comes at a time when American President Joe Biden receives Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders at the White House to try to release $60 billion in aid to Ukraine.

"The path to victory"

Volodymyr Zelensky regularly repeats that his country desperately needs continued support from the West to defeat Russia.

Before arriving in Tirana, Volodymyr Zelensky visited Saudi Arabia to discuss that country's mediation in the exchange of prisoners of war between Kiev and Moscow and the "peace formula" proposed by Kiev to end the Russian invasion.

In Europe, a heated debate was provoked across the continent by French President Emmanuel Macron who on Monday evening raised the specter of a possible sending of ground troops to Ukraine, following a meeting with his European counterparts in Paris.

Berlin, London and other European allies of kyiv rejected his comments on Tuesday.

Read alsoTroops in Ukraine: Emmanuel Macron causes surprise and consternation among the allies

US President Joe Biden has also categorically ruled out the idea of ​​sending troops.

“President Biden has been clear that the United States will not send troops to fight in Ukraine,” Adrienne Watson, deputy spokesperson for the National Security Council, said Tuesday.

Joe Biden believes that “the path to victory” will go through military aid currently blocked by Congress, she added.

The Kremlin, for its part, judged that it was "absolutely not in the interest of these countries" to send soldiers to Ukraine and warned against the "inevitability", in this case, of a conflict direct between NATO and Russia.

After withdrawing around ten days ago from its fortress town of Avdiïvka (east), the Ukrainian army confirmed on Monday and Tuesday its retreat from three neighboring villages, Lastochkyné, Sieverné and Stepové, further to the west. .

With AFP

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