ATHENS, Greece — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy flew to Greece on Monday for talks with the nation’s management and to attend an off-the-cuff assembly of Balkan leaders with prime European Union officers.
Zelenskyy met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and was scheduled to satisfy with the figurehead president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
Within the night, Zelenskyy was to hitch an off-the-cuff dinner organized by Mitsotakis for prime officers from 9 Balkan nations, European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council head Charles Michel, Mitsotakis’ workplace stated.
The dinner was scheduled to debate the Western Balkans area’s future within the EU, which many nations have already joined and the remaining are jockeying to enter.
Greece has joined its NATO and EU companions in strongly backing Ukraine in opposition to the Russian invasion and has supplied army help within the type of armored personnel carriers and ammunition.
However Athens has resisted strain to offer Kyiv with a Russian-made air protection missile system stationed on the southern island of Crete. Greece is engaged in a considerable weapons procurement program of its personal amid testy relations with neighboring Turkey — its NATO ally and historic regional rival.
Earlier Monday, Zelenskyy was in Denmark, the place he thanked lawmakers for serving to his nation resist Russia’s invasion. On Sunday, Denmark and the Netherlands introduced they would supply Kyiv with F-16 warplanes that may very well be delivered across the finish of the 12 months.
The Athens dinner was being hosted on the twentieth anniversary of an EU-Western Balkan summit within the northern Greek metropolis of Thessaloniki as Balkan states sought to hitch the bloc.
The presidents of Serbia, Montenegro and Moldova, the prime ministers of North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania, and the top of the council of ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been to attend Monday’s dinner. Mitsotakis was additionally assembly a number of of them individually on Monday and Tuesday.
A notable absence was Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. Relations between Greece and its northwestern neighbor have soured over the jailing of ethnic Greek minority chief Fredi Beleri, who was arrested earlier than native elections in Might on vote-buying allegations.
Beleri was elected mayor of the southwestern Albanian city of Himara regardless of being in pre-trial detention. Athens insists his detention is politically motivated and has known as for his launch.
“I consider all of us perceive that it was not potential to ask Mr. Rama to such an vital initiative,” Greek authorities spokesperson Pavlos Marinakis stated.
“After we say that Albania’s European path passes via the essential respect of European guidelines and the principles of justice, we imply it,” he added, noting that Albania’s president had declined an invite to attend.