Espreso. Global

Zelenskyy holds series of meetings in Athens

22 August, 2023 Tuesday

On August 22, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the President of the European Commission, the President of Serbia, and the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, and North Macedonia as part of the Ukraine-Balkans Summit in Athens


He wrote about this on Telegram. 

"A great meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. A new package of defense support. Grain exports, in particular through the Danube and Adriatic ports of Croatia," the statement reads. 

Zelenskyy also discussed humanitarian demining in Ukraine with Plenković. The president thanked Croatia for its assistance and global leadership in this area.

North Macedonia is preparing a new military aid package for Ukraine

As part of the Ukraine-Balkans summit, Zelenskyy also met with North Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski. During the meeting, they discussed the development of defense cooperation between the countries.

"I am grateful to North Macedonia for its political and military support, preparation of a new defense package... We agreed to coordinate steps towards a common goal - joining the EU," the Ukrainian president wrote.

President of the European Commission discussed Ukraine's progress towards the EU with Zelenskyy

Before meeting with the Croatian prime minister, Zelenskyy spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

"I met with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and expressed my gratitude for her efforts to normalize Ukrainian food exports and transit. It is important to fully restore them from September 15," the statement says. 

Photo: Zelenskiy / Official

Zelenskyy noted that he expects a positive assessment of Ukraine's progress in the Enlargement Package report in October and a subsequent decision by EU member states to open negotiations on Ukraine's membership in the EU by the end of 2023.

In addition, with the President of the European Commission, the President of Ukraine coordinated positions on the Peace Formula on the way to the Global Peace Summit.

Zelenskyy discusses alternative ways of "grain corridor" with Bulgarian Prime Minister

During his meeting with the Bulgarian prime minister, Zelenskyy thanked Denkov for his comprehensive support of Ukraine in the war with Russia, including the Bulgarian government's recent decisions to provide defense support.

The President of Ukraine and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria discussed further cooperation to protect our country.

In particular, they paid special attention to the situation in the Black Sea region and discussed cooperation between the Black Sea states to ensure sustainable security in the Black Sea and the functioning of the "grain corridor" in alternative ways.

"I am grateful to Bulgaria for condemning Russia's unilateral withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Ukraine is ready to use alternative ways for the grain corridor. We count on Bulgaria's support in this," Zelenskyy said.

Photo: the President's Office

He also thanked Denkov for his support of the Peace Formula and the willingness of the Bulgarian side to participate in the implementation of its specific points.

Zelenskyy noted Bulgaria's accession to the Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine adopted by the G7 countries at the NATO Summit in Vilnius. The Bulgarian Prime Minister, for his part, reaffirmed his principled support for the Crimean Platform, the third summit of which will be held in Kyiv on August 23, 2023.

Meeting with the leader of Serbia

In addition, on August 22, the President of Ukraine met with Aleksandar Vučić. Zelenskyy wrote about this on Telegram.

"An open, honest, productive conversation with Serbian President Vučić. A good conversation. About respect for the UN Charter and the inviolability of borders," he said.

According to the President of Ukraine, he also discussed with Vučić the future of the peoples in a common European home and the development of relations, which is a common interest of Ukraine and Serbia.

For his part, President Vučić posted a photo with Zelenskyy on Instagram and wrote that he had a "good and open conversation about all important issues for Serbia and Ukraine, as well as for the entire region and the world."

"We touched on the events in Ukraine and Kosovo and Metohija, and I reiterated that Serbia respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which we have been saying clearly and unequivocally since the beginning of the conflict," the Serbian leader added.

  • The day before, in preparation for the Vilnius summit, Bulgaria supported Ukraine's position on joining NATO under an accelerated procedure.

  • In addition, on August 22, eleven leaders of the Balkan countries, including Greece, adopted a declaration in support of Ukraine: in it, the countries expressed their support for Ukraine's independence.

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