War in Ukraine: Zelensky in Albania, frozen Russian assets, separatists in Transnistria… update on the situation

War in Ukraine: Zelensky in Albania, frozen Russian assets, separatists in Transnistria... update on the situation

Le président ukrainien Volodymyr Zelensky à Tirana ce 28 février 2024. MAXPPP – MALTON DIBRA

Every day, Midi Libre takes stock of the situation in Ukraine. This Wednesday, February 28, 2024, discover the latest news around this conflict.

Zelensky in Albania for a Ukraine-Western Balkans summit

Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Tirana, the Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs announced this Wednesday, the Ukrainian president expected to participate in the capital of Albania in a summit between Ukraine and six Western Balkan countries.

This is the first summit in this format since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. "A pivotal moment to promote bilateral relations and display our solidarity with Ukraine in its heroic fight against Russian aggression", said writes the Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Igli Hasani, on the social network X.

Volodymyr Zelensky, who was in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, is scheduled to meet with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, as well as the leaders of Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and the Montenegro. Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro are members of NATO, have joined Western sanctions against Russia and have sent weapons and equipment to Ukraine.

Serbia, close to Russia, however, has not imposed sanctions. Like her, Ukraine does not recognize the independence of Kosovo, a former Albanian-speaking Serbian province which nevertheless gave it support against Russia.

Von der Leyen wants to use profits from frozen Russian assets to arm Ukraine

The European Union (EU) should consider using profits from frozen Russian assets to buy military equipment for Ukraine, it said on Wednesday the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

"It's time to start discussing using windfall profits from frozen Russian assets to jointly purchase military equipment for Russia ;Ukraine", she said in a speech to the European Parliament. "There is no stronger symbol nor better use of this money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a place of safer life", she emphasized.

Ursula von der Leyen also called for a strengthening of European defense in an unstable geopolitical environment and said the Commission would present proposals for its first European industrial defense strategy in the coming weeks, including ;#39;one of the main objectives will be to promote joint acquisitions in the field of defense.

"Europe should strive to develop and manufacture the next generation of battle-winning operational capabilities' quot;, she said, adding that the bloc should strengthen its defense industrial capacity over the next five years.

She believes that the intensification of European efforts in defense matters does not reduce the need for the alliance with NATO. "In fact, a more sovereign Europe, particularly in matters of defense, is essential to strengthening NATO", a -she said.

Transnistrian separatists seek protection from Russia

Officials of the Russian-backed Moldovan separatist region of Transnistria asked Moscow on Wednesday to protect them from what they called economic pressure from the Moldovan government.

Transnistrian deputies meeting in Congress adopted a resolution demanding "the Federation Council and the State Duma of Russia to implement measures to protect Transnistria in the face of increasing pressure from Moldova".

The Moldovan government introduced customs regulations this year requiring companies in Transnistria to pay import duties to the Moldovan budget. The region's Economy Minister told the Congress, held in the regional capital Tiraspol, that this measure would have reduced customs revenues going to the Transnistrian budget by 18%.

"The social and economic pressure exerted on Transnistria directly contradicts European principles and approaches to the protection of human rights. man and free trade", we can read in the text of the resolution. Transnistria, predominantly Russian-speaking, broke away from Moldova in 1990, a year before the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Daniel Voda, the spokesperson for the Moldovan government, had judged before the adoption of the resolution that it was &amp ;quot;a propaganda event, a trap which does not deserve the attention of foreign journalists nor the sensational headlines of the news newspapers.&quot ;

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