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25 Jun, 2023 13:00

Ukraine accuses Israel of siding with Russia

Israeli officials have shown “blatant disregard of moral boundaries,” Kiev’s embassy in Tel Aviv claims
Ukraine accuses Israel of siding with Russia

Ukraine’s Embassy in Tel Aviv has lashed out at Israel, accusing the country of providing insufficient support to Kiev amid the conflict with Moscow, and bolstering ties with Russia instead.

In a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday, the Ukrainian mission noted “with regret that the current Israeli government has chosen the path of close cooperation with Russia.”

There has been “complete inaction in providing Ukraine with defensive assistance over the past one-and-a-half years” on the part of the Jewish state, the statement read.

The embassy accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of making “entirely fictional and speculative assumptions” in order to justify inaction by his government.

In an interview last week, Netanyahu argued that Israel cannot provide arms to Kiev because of Russia’s involvement in Syria, amid concerns that those weapons could eventually end up in the hands of Iran.

Ukrainian diplomats have also slammed an agreement to establish a branch office of the Russian consulate in West Jerusalem, reached earlier this month, as well as other recent high-level contacts between Israel and Russia.

Israeli officials demonstrated a “blatant disregard of moral boundaries” by attending a diplomatic reception hosted by the Russian Embassy last week, the statement argued.

While most “democratic” countries have sanctioned Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, Israel has not only refrained from joining the restrictions, but – on the contrary – increased trade with Moscow, the Ukrainian embassy said.

“In reality, on the ground, the so-called ‘neutrality’ of Israeli government should be viewed as a clear pro-Russian position,” it stressed.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the statement as the harshest criticism of Israel by Ukraine since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022.

Ukrainian envoy Evgeny Korniychuk has repeatedly complained of insufficient support from Israel. Last year, he told the journalists: “you can’t imagine how difficult it is for me to be ambassador to Israel if my president [Vladimir Zelensky] is a Jew – because he has much higher expectations of Israel than Israel can deliver.”

In late 2022, Israel’s newly appointed foreign minister Eli Cohen pledged that the country will continue to send “significant humanitarian aid” to Ukraine, but will “talk less” about the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev.

Last year, Ukraine also asked Israel to provide it with the Iron Dome air defense system, but the plea was rejected, with Israel saying it didn’t “have a large enough production base” to meet Kiev’s needs.