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Southeast European leaders: Russia's war 'greatest threat to European security'

by Martin Fornusek February 28, 2024 7:13 PM 2 min read
European leaders at the Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit in Tirana, Albania, on Feb. 28, 2024.
European leaders at the Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit in Tirana, Albania, on Feb. 28, 2024. (Ukraine's Presidential Office)
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The leaders of Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine signed a joint declaration in support of Kyiv while denouncing Russian aggression during a summit in Tirana on Feb. 28.

President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Tirana late on Feb. 27 to attend the second Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit, leading bilateral talks with other leaders and delivering a speech the following day.

The text of the declaration calls Russia's war against Ukraine "the greatest threat to the European security and international peace."

The signatories pledged unwavering support to Ukraine's independence, territorial integrity, and lasting peace in accordance with the UN Charter and Ukraine's peace formula. They also signaled readiness to participate in the upcoming international peace summit in Switzerland.

"We are convinced that Russia's full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine has demonstrated the critical need and crucial importance of a united and strong Europe capable of facing global challenges for the peace and prosperity of our peoples," the declaration's text read.

The parties denounced Russia's plans to hold a presidential election in the occupied territories of Ukraine. They also pledged to help bring perpetrators of Russian war crimes to justice and to bring abducted Ukrainian children home.

The leaders agreed to intensify cooperation in the information and cybersecurity sphere, help Ukraine's post-war recovery efforts, and support Kyiv's EU and NATO bids, as well as European aspirations of Moldova, Georgia, and Western Balkan countries.

The vast majority of the countries who are party to the declaration have been supportive of Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression, some of whom are NATO and EU members.

Serbia, represented at the summit by its president Aleksandar Vucic, has kept close ties with Russia, however, while maintaining a neutral stance toward the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Zelensky held a bilateral meeting with Vucic on the sidelines of the summit, expressing his gratitude for the humanitarian and financial aid and emphasizing the importance of Belgrade's participation in the peace formula.

Albania, Ukraine sign cooperation agreement
Albania and Ukraine signed a “Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation,” President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Feb. 28 during his visit to Tirana for the Ukraine-Balkans summit.

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