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KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday he was in the Spanish city of Granada for a summit bringing together leaders from almost 50 European countries.

The visit comes as Zelensky lobbies his Western allies for more military aid and air defence systems ahead of what officials warn could be intensified Russian strikes over the winter.

“Granada, Spain. Summit of the European Political Community. We will work in joint formats and have important bilateral meetings,” Zelensky said in a social media post.

“The key for us, especially before the winter, is to strengthen air defence, and we already have the basis for new agreements with our partners. We are preparing to confirm and implement them,” he said.

Russia has also ramped up attacks on Ukraine’s ports since exiting a deal allowing safe passage of shipments through the Black Sea.

Since Russia withdrew from the deal, Ukraine has been testing a new sea route and hopes to resume regular exports on the Black Sea.

“Special attention should be paid to the Black Sea region and to working together for global food security and the protection of freedom of navigation,” Zelensky said.

The European Political Community was first proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, bringing together European Union members and non-EU countries in a wider forum.

The beginning of the summit has been overshadowed this year by tensions between members Armenia and Azerbaijan, whose President Ilham Aliyev turned down a meeting with Armenian leader Nikol Pashinyan.

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