Ukraine Responds: Summons Israeli Ambassador After Netanyahu Cancels PM's Visit

The visit was canceled over Ukraine's support of the Security Council resolution against the settlements. Kiev cites occupied Crimea a main reason for backing the motion.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman makes an address in Kiev, Ukraine, December 19, 2016.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman makes an address in Kiev, Ukraine, December 19, 2016. POOL/REUTERS

Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine was summoned Monday by that country’s foreign ministry in Kiev to clarify Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s canceling the visit of the Ukrainian prime minister because Ukraine supported the UN Security Council resolution passed last week against the settlements.

The summoning of Eli Belotserkovsky came a day after the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel was summoned for a clarification meeting by Israel’s Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem over the vote.

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The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday criticizing the Israeli response to the Security Council vote and hinted it was motivated by Israeli government’s domestic political concerns.

“We are confident that active and emotional internal debates in Israel will not impact the traditionally friendly Ukrainian-Israeli relationship, based on mutual respect and joint interests,” the ministry said.

Netanyahu said earlier on Monday that Israel's tough reaction to the United Nations Security Council resolution about settlements was intended to try and prevent additional global steps on the Israeli-Palestinian issue in coming weeks. "Israel is a country with national pride, and we don't turn the other cheek," he said.

The Ukrainian statement went on to say that over the years, Ukraine had taken a balanced position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and supported the realization of the two-state solution by peaceful means and through direct negotiations. The Ukrainian ministry stressed that like other members of the Security Council, Ukraine had condemned settlement construction more than once because it violates international law, but that it had also condemned Palestinian violence.

“The text of the resolution is balanced,” the ministry said. “It calls for taking measures necessary for a peaceful solution from both Israeli and Palestinian sides.”

One of the main reasons Ukraine cited for its support of the resolution against the settlements is the Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula and eastern Ukraine. In its statement, the ministry in Kiev said that Ukraine had fallen victim to a violation of international law, which is why it calls consistently for international law to be observed everywhere.

“We are convinced that only a foreign policy based on the need to protect the national interests and on the respect for the international law and universal principles and values is persuasive and understandable for all,” the statement said.