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11 Oct, 2023 23:45

Zelensky plans ‘solidarity’ tour to Israel – Axios

Ukraine’s president has previously voiced concerns about losing the West’s attention
Zelensky plans ‘solidarity’ tour to Israel – Axios

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is seeking to visit Israel in order to back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign against Gaza, Axios reported on Wednesday.

Zelensky’s office has sent Netanyahu’s office an official request to coordinate a visit, the US outlet said, citing anonymous officials from both Ukraine and Israel. Axios claimed the trip would “boost international support for Israel’s counteroffensive against Hamas in Gaza.”

The discussions are still in the preliminary stage and no date has been set, according to Axios’ sources. Neither government would confirm or deny the report on the record, however.

Zelensky was in Belgium on Wednesday, meeting with NATO defense ministers to ask for more weapons and ammunition. Speaking with reporters, he said international support meant a lot to Ukraine in the early days of the conflict with Russia.

“This is why I urge all leaders to visit Israel and show their support for the people,” the Ukrainian leader said. “I’m not talking about any institutions, but about support for the people who suffered from terrorist attacks and are dying today.”

Since Saturday, when Hamas launched rockets and commando raids into Israeli territory, the conflict in Ukraine has virtually disappeared from news coverage in the West. Visiting Romania on Tuesday, Zelensky lamented this absence from the spotlight.

“If international attention shifts away from Ukraine, one way or another, it will have consequences,” he told France 2. “The fate of Ukraine depends on the unity of the rest of the world.”

Zelensky also blamed Moscow for the attacks by the Palestinian militants, claiming Russia “helped Hamas and is behind Hamas,” without offering any evidence. Earlier he cited Ukrainian intelligence claims that Russia wanted to trigger a war in the Middle East in order to “undermine world unity” and “destroy freedom in Europe.”

Israel’s ambassador to Moscow, Alexander Ben Zvi, has rejected the allegations as “complete nonsense,” and said his government does not believe that Russia was involved “in any way.”

Washington has endorsed West Jerusalem in much the same terms as it had Kiev, promising Netanyahu massive quantities of weapons and ammunition. The Pentagon has assured reporters that the US has enough to support both Israel and Ukraine, as well as its own troops around the globe.