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Zelensky urges Balkan leaders for swift aid as ammo shortages impact frontline troops

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In a passionate plea during the “Ukraine-Southeast Europe Summit” in Albania, President Volodymyr Zelensky highlighted the critical need for increased support to counter Russian forces, emphasizing the severe impact of ammunition shortages on frontline troops.

Expressing gratitude for past support, Zelensky urged Balkan leaders to address the pressing issue of ammunition supply, stressing the importance of streamlining efforts immediately. During the summit, he proposed the idea of a future “Ukrainian-Balkans defence industry forum” to enhance collaboration.

Zelensky warned against delays, stating, “Every pause in supply, every doubt that the world is ready to defend itself, all this inspires one person. All this inspires Putin.” He emphasized the urgency, stating, “We don’t have time and we don’t have alternatives.”

Albania, a NATO member, has been a vocal supporter, with discussions between Zelensky and Prime Minister Edi Rama exploring potential defense cooperation. Despite facing a renewed Russian offensive, Zelensky emphasized the need for Western allies to boost support.

However, the geopolitical landscape complicates matters. The US Congress’s political infighting has stalled a vital $60 billion aid package, with a Republican majority led by Donald Trump showing reluctance. In response to the aid vacuum, EU allies, led by the Czech Republic, are planning to buy artillery from outside the bloc.

Zelensky’s diplomatic efforts extended to Saudi Arabia before the summit, where discussions involved promoting his peace plan and exploring potential prisoner of war exchanges. Amidst these challenges, French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion of sending Western troops into Ukraine has stirred controversy among allies and drawn warnings from the Kremlin.

As Ukraine grapples with dwindling ammunition, Zelensky’s global appeal for aid remains urgent, reflecting the complex geopolitical dynamics shaping the country’s struggle for freedom and territorial integrity.

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