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US donates Humvees to Albania

US donation of 29 Humvees to Albania
Photo: Albanian defense ministry

The United States have donated 29 high mobility military wheeled vehicles, or “Humvees”, to the Albanian Armed Forces as a way of helping them meet NATO commitments.

In a ceremony in Tirana on March 24, US ambassador to Albania Yuri Kim said the brand new vehicles would immediately improve the capabilities of the Albanian land forces at a critical time.

The donation is part of a priority project for the United States – to assist in the transition of Albania’s 2nd infantry battalion from a light infantry battle group to a motorized infantry battle group.

“Albania’s commitment to prepare a motorized infantry battle group for NATO is significant. It reinforces the importance of NATO commitments, and reminds us that Albania stands ready to operate in dangerous places alongside allies,” the ambassador said.

Albanian defense minister Niko Peleshi speaking at the ceremony at Zall Herr army base near Tirana, Albania on March 24. Photo: Albanian defense ministry

The establishment of a motorized infantry battle group will improve Albania’s ability to conduct internal defense missions, and deploy in support of global operations.

“This donation is also critical because we are in the final preparations for a historic event – exercise Defender Europe 21. Defender 21 is a multinational military exercise which will occur in Albania this summer, and Albania has been chosen to host significant aspects of the exercise. It will be the largest military exercise ever in southeast Europe, and will certainly showcase Albania’s importance in the region. We particularly look forward to seeing these vehicles take part in this premier training event,” the ambassador added.

The US Army-led Defender Europe will gather more than 30,000 multinational forces from 27 nations for nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in a dozen countries. Equipment and personnel for the exercise are already on the move while the bulk of training activities will occur in May. The exercise will conclude in June with the redeployment of US-based forces and equipment.