President Volodymyr Zelensky held an opening speech at the Ukraine–South-East Europe Summit, which he is co-chairing along with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, Wednesday, in Tirana.

The Ukrainian leader spoke about cooperation with the countries of southeast Europe in the spheres of politics, defense, trade, energy, and logistics, as well as in countering the Kremlin regime.

Here are the key points of Zelensky’s address:

Common opposition to Putin

Zelensky said that in the past “someone else tried to determine the fate of other nations. This happened in the Balkans, in Eastern Europe, and in all other parts of Europe.”

He added: “Now Putin wants to do exactly the same. All his hostility, everything he does, and everything he wants to force other nations to do, is an attempt to make the old dictates of how nations should exist and what they should agree or disagree with – to make it ‘the new normal,’” he said.


The Ukrainian president said it was “important for all free nations that Putin and his regime lose.”

Cooperation in many spheres, including defense

Zelensky said that the leaders in southeast Europe should further develop good-neighborly relations and counter Russian disinformation and Russian attempts to destabilize the political systems of nations.

“I am grateful for the joint work between our countries on roads, ports, railways, and at sea. I would also like to emphasize our joint work in the Black Sea and the Danube region for the sake of food security. It helps the whole world,” he said.

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According to Zelensky, there are currently about 500 defense companies operating in Ukraine in different areas, and each of them adds strength. But it is not enough to beat Putin.

“We see the problems with the supply of ammunition – which are affecting the situation on the battlefield,” he said.

“And we are interested in co-production with you and all our partners. Our governmental team will present the details. We propose to hold a special Ukraine-Balkans Defense Industry Forum in Kyiv or in one of your capitals,” Zelensky added.


Mutual support of EU and NATO aspirations

The Ukrainian president separately focused on the issue of the coexistence of nations of “different dignities” in Europe.

“Some deserve security and peace while other’s struggle for peace is ignored, some deserve integration into unions and alliances, and others are supposed to stay behind and wait,” he said.

Zelensky also said that cooperation between Ukraine and southeast Europe can ensure that respect for every nation, the equal right of nations to security and independent choice of their destiny should be universal principles.

“We believe that every nation in Europe which keeps the principles of the European and Euro-Atlantic communities and wants to be a member of these communities deserves full integration. Ukraine supports your countries on their integration path and is grateful for your support for our integration. The European Union and NATO have provided Europe with the longest and most reliable era of security and economic development,” he continued.


Support for Ukraine’s peace formula

The Ukrainian president said that the obvious advantage of Ukraine’s peace formula is that it is comprehensive and inclusive.

“Every aspect of the Russian war can be resolved through the points of the Formula. Every leader and every state can prove themselves in the peace process – not only the so-called ‘great powers,’ not only those who are traditionally active in diplomacy in Europe or elsewhere. We want international law and global stability to be based on truly multilateral and transparent processes – on the equality of nations.” he said, inviting leaders to take part in the first Global Peace Summit, which will be held in Switzerland.

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