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Ukrainian officials in Tirana, Albania, on Feb. 28, 2024.
Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Ihor Zhovkva, President Volodymyr Zelensky, Strategic Industries Minister Oleksandr Kamyshin, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak (from left to right, front and central row) in Tirana, Albania, on Feb. 28, 2024. (Presidential Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed to hold a special Ukraine-Balkans defense industry forum to tighten cooperation and boost Ukraine's production capacities. He made the announcement during a Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit in Tirana on Feb. 28.

The event could be held in Kyiv or in one of the other capitals of participating countries, the president suggested.

Zelensky arrived in Tirana late on Feb. 27 to attend the second Ukraine-Southeast Europe summit, marking his first visit to Albania since the start of the full-scale invasion.

"We are proud that there are about 500 defense companies operating in Ukraine in different areas, and each of them adds strength. But it is not enough to win over (Russian dictator Vladimir) Putin," Zelensky said in his speech at the summit.

"We see the problems with the supply of ammunition – which are affecting the situation on the battlefield. And we are interested in co-production with you and all our partners."

Ukraine faces increasingly critical ammunition shortages as assistance from the U.S. has been delayed for months due to domestic political disputes while European allies struggle to fill the gap.

Seeking international support waver, Kyiv has been seeking to localize domestic defense production, inviting foreign companies to set up shop in Ukraine.

Speaking to the summit, Zelensky stressed that the "equal right of nations to security and independent choice of their destiny should be universal principles."

Ukraine's head of state appreciated the cooperation with the Balkan countries on transport and infrastructure, the joint work in the Black Sea and the Danube region in the context of food security, and support against Russian aggression.

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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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.
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