From: Bledar Qalliu
Albania Sent Military Equipment to Ukraine

*An earlier version of this article stated that Albania has sent military vehicles rather than equipment to Ukraine. We apologize for the misunderstanding. 

Albania has sent military equipment to help Ukraine’s fight against Russia, while its troops are located in Latvia, and recently also in Kosovo.

The country is prepared to increase its military presence according to NATO needs, Minister of Defense Niko Peleshi told Euronews Albania in an interview from Brussels on Wednesday, where he attended an extraordinary meeting of NATO ministers of defense.

Member countries confirmed their contributions in support of Ukraine, and their willingness to strengthen the organization’s unity in face of the Russian aggression, Peleshi explained.

“The NATO alliance has never been more united than today. There are no differences any more among allies, they are all in unison, ready and convinced that we must strengthen our defense by supporting Ukraine,” the minister stated.

Peleshi drew attention to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s refusal to align their foreign policies with the European Union in imposing sanctions against Ukraine.

“This makes the political situation in the Balkans susceptible to Russian aggression. It’s precisely the strengthening [of NATO] agreed through the will of all members today, the increased presence with additional military units in the East that discourages Russia from claims of extending destabilization into the Western Balkans,” Peleshi noted, adding that the region faced no imminent danger for the time being.

The minister urged the European Union and NATO to accelerate the accession process for countries in the region for increased security and development in the Western Balkans.

Albania is expecting the delivery of two Black Hawk helicopters from the United States, while the government is mulling on expanding its aerial fleet with more units. The increase of budget expenditures to 2 percent of the GDP as agreed among NATO members is being conducted according to the plan, the minister confirmed.

Albania became a NATO member in April 2009. The Alliance is upgrading a military airport in the former Stalin City in south-central Albania, now called Kucove, and is turning it into its first air base in the Western Balkans.