Zelensky Travels To Rally Saudi Arabia & Albania To Ukraine's Cause

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Feb 29, 2024 - 07:45 AM

With the weapons pipeline to Washington still held up by appropriately recalcitrant House Republicans, Ukraine's President Zelensky has turned to countries on the peripheries, first making an official visit to Saudi Arabia Tuesday and on Wednesday a stop in Albania where he's seeking to rally Western Balkan states to the Ukrainian cause at a regional security conference.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Zelensky to talk Kiev's '10-point peace plan' - which demands that all Russian troops exit Ukraine's territory. "The Kingdom’s leadership has already contributed to the release of our people. I am confident that this meeting will also yield results," stated Zelensky.

Saudi Press Agency via AP

The two leaders discussed "promising areas of economic cooperation and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Ukraine’s reconstruction" during the visit.

This follows Putin's own 2023 visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to deepen trade and energy ties, as part of OPEC+ cooperation. This means Riyadh's support to Kiev will certainly be limited and sensitive, given MBS at the time of Putin's visit said "We share many interests and many files that we are working on together for the benefit of Russia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, [West Asia], and the world as well," according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

The Saudi monarchy in the aftermath of Zelensky's Tuesday visit issued only a vague statement about supporting efforts to resolve the conflict, while pledging to help "alleviate the humanitarian repercussions of the war."

The Albanian government's response Wednesday looked more promising for Kiev, given Albania is a chief regional rival to Moscow's friend Serbia. Al Jazeera lays out the geopolitical context as follows

Jahja Muhasilovic, a political analyst on the Balkans and the Middle East, has told Al Jazeera from Bosnia’s Sarajevo that “Albania is known to be one of the staunchest supporters of limiting Russia’s influence here in the region.”

“In a way, Zelenskyy’s visit in Albania is having that geopolitical connotation. He is probably counting on the Western Balkan countries not to help them militarily because they are limited, but through their lobbying part that they can play in continuing the armament of the Ukrainian troops,” he said.

Albania is also fighting the Serbian maligning influence that is also affecting Ukraine. Serbia has been acting as a little Russia in the region. The Russians are using Serbian networks in order to project their power here in the Balkans,” Muhasilovic added.

Zelensky pushed the idea that all Western-friendly Balkan states should have a pathway to the EU and NATO.

"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," Zelensky said.

Via RTE: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama signed a friendship and cooperation treaty

This also comes the same week that the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria is seeking Moscow's protection. The US and international countries do no recognize its independence, also given the presence of Russian 'peacekeeping' forces since Soviet times, and the situation shaping up to the be next Washington-Moscow flashpoint, as Moldova also borders Ukraine.

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The movie "War Dogs"... opening up those vast Albanian and Balkan post-Soviet storehouses...