Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, at an EU-West Balkans summit in Greece. (EPA-EFE/KOSTAS TSIRONIS)


Zelenskyy in talks with leader of pro-Russia Serbia at Balkans summit


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic at a European Union-West Balkans summit in Greece.

The two leaders have frequently found themselves at odds in the past, with Serbia’s pro-Russia leanings often leading to wars of words between Kyiv and Belgrade.

Such hostilities appeared to be absent on August 22, with Zelenskyy writing on Twitter that he had held an “open, honest, and fruitful meeting” with Vucic.

“Good conversation on respect for the UN Charter and the inviolability of borders,” he said, adding that the two leaders also spoke about their nations’ “shared future in the common European home”.

“On developing our relations, that is in our mutual interest,” the Ukrainian President added.

From Zelenskyy’s write-up, it appears the meeting marks another success on his latest whistle-stop tour of Europe, which has seen the Netherlands and Denmark promise to give advanced F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

He also appears to be making the most of his time in Greece, with the EU nation saying it will help to train Ukrainian fighter pilots to fly the US-made combat aircraft.

Zelenskyy also expects to have bilateral meetings with a number of the other leaders attending the event, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Apart from the supply of weapons to Ukraine, issues to do with the country’s agricultural exports also appear to be on the table.

Zelenskyy is said to have discussed the continued operation of the Ukrainian “grain corridor” with Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov.

After the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal at the hands of Russia, Ukraine has been keen to ensure its huge agricultural sector continues to have access to international markets, with much of the developing world in particular being reliant on the country’s wheat exports.

“I am grateful to Bulgaria for condemning Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” Zelenskyy said.

“Ukraine is ready to use alternative ways for the ‘grain corridor.’ We count on Bulgaria’s support in this regard.”