Conflicts & War

Zelenskyy drums up support during European tour as troops advance in southern Ukraine

Kyiv/Moscow, Aug 22 (EFE).- Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Tuesday with the leaders of Serbia, the European Union, North Macedonia and Croatia during a visit to Athens.

Zelenskyy’s trip to the Greek capital came after he had visited Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, as he tours Europe hoping to boost diplomatic and military support for his country’s defense against Russia’s invasion.

Having secured F-16 fighter planes from the Netherlands and Denmark over the weekend, Zelenskyy met with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Balkan leaders in Athens on Tuesday.

“We discussed Ukraine’s progress on the EU path as well as our continued support in the face of Russia’s aggression,” von der Leyen said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said his country would provide Ukraine with a new military aid package worth 30 million euros ($32.5 million).

Zelenskyy also secured the political and defense support of North Macedonia, which he thanked for “preparing a new military aid package” for Kyiv.

However, Zelenskyy’s main diplomatic achievement during his stay in Athens was meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who had so far avoided explicitly supporting Kyiv to maintain Belgrade’s good relations with Moscow.

According to the Ukrainian leader, the conversation with Vucic, who reiterated his support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, was “open, honest and fruitful”.

Greece, which hosted the meetings with the Ukrainian president and the leaders of the Balkan nations, pledged to help train Ukrainian pilots of F-16 fighters, which will begin this month and is expected to be completed early next year.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army was making steady progress on the battlefield. Its troops took the village of Robotnye in the southern province of Zaporizhia, Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavski said on Telegram.

Robotnye is about 20 kilometers north of Tokmak, an important communications junction, control of which is key to Kyiv’s plans to cut off the land corridor linking the Crimean peninsula with mainland Russia.

However, Russian authorities on Tuesday denied reports of the Ukrainian army’s gains in the south and downplayed the presence of Kyiv troops in Robotyne.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, its forces, supported by aviation and artillery, repelled four attacks near the towns of Uspenivka and Robotyne. EFE


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