Help us serve you better. Take a survey now

Take survey
Skip to content
Edit post

Albania reopens communist-era air base after $54 million NATO refurbishment

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 4, 2024 7:42 PM 2 min read
Politicians and military staff stand in front of Italian air force Typhoon fighter jets during a ceremony at the newly refurbished NATO-backed airbase in the Albanian city of Kucova, Albania, on March 4, 2024. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

Kucova air base in Albania reopened on March 4 after undergoing a 50 million euro ($54 million) NATO refurbishment, making it the region's largest NATO tactical air base.

The base adds to the security in the Western Balkans, which is a region endangered by the "threat and neo-imperialist ambitions of the Russian Federation," Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama said at the inaugural ceremony.

Located 60 kilometers (38 miles) south of Tirana, Kucova air base was originally opened in 1955, when Albania was a one-party communist state.

"Albania, with this base that we are reopening today, was considered a strategic outpost," for the Soviet Union at the time, Rama said.

The base has "a defensive and deterrent mission" and is "an important center for NATO operations," Albania’s President Bajram Begaj said, as cited by Euronews Albania.

Two fighter jets flew from a NATO air base in Italy and landed at Kucova to mark the reopening.

According to Rama, the base will station three Turkish Bayraktar drones and two new Black Hawk helicopters.

The renovation began in 2019 and has been NATO's biggest project in Albania in the last 10 years.

The reopening comes a week after President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Albania for the second Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit, which was hosted by Tirana.

During the visit, Zelensky signed a Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and met other European leaders.

Kuleba: Albania to open embassy in Kyiv soon
Albania is planning to open its embassy in Kyiv “soon,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on social platform X on Feb. 28 after meeting his Albanian counterpart Igli Hasani in Tirana.

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.