Zelenskyy pleads for more ammunition at Albania summit

Tirana, Albania: Ukraine’s president pleaded Wednesday for more ammunition to repel Russian advances as he co-hosted a summit with Albania’s government to build further support for Kyiv among southeastern European countries while signs of war fatigue grew.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that increasing the supply of armaments, and especially ammunition, was paramount for Ukraine just over two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion. “I think this is the question of: Will we stand or not,” he said during his speech to the summit.

His impassioned plea comes as Russian troops have seized the initiative on the battlefield in Ukraine amid worsening shortages of weapons and soldiers for Ukraine’s military. Western analysts and observers say the Russians are attacking in strength along four parallel axes in the northeast, aiming to press deeper into the Ukraine-held western part of the Donetsk region and also penetrate into the Kharkiv region north of it.

Russia took the strategic eastern city of Avdiivka earlier this month by overwhelming Ukrainian forces with large numbers of troops and superior air and artillery firepower. Fierce fighting has continued with Russia pushing Kyiv’s forces out of another three villages to the city’s west in the last few days.

Zelenskyy arrived in Albania overnight to join a summit of eleven countries from southeastern Europe, along with officials from the European Union and other international organizations. It was the latest stop in an international tour that saw him in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to push for a peace plan and the return of prisoners of war from Russia.

Zelenskyy sought to build solidarity among his country and those of the Western Balkans, saying that all of them deserved to be members of the European Union and NATO if they chose.

“The European Union and NATO have provided Europe with the longest and most reliable era of security and economic development, and we are all equally worthy of being a part of the European and Euro-Atlantic communities,” Zelenskyy said.

Securing further support is key to Ukraine’s leader while his country faces battlefield challenges. Zelenskyy on Sunday announced that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in action since Russia’s invasion — the first time that Kyiv had confirmed the number of its losses.

Image courtesy of UPPS