Israel welcomed the results of the Ukrainian presidential election on Tuesday, in which oligarch Petro Poroshenko won with over 50 percent of the vote.
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The announcement comes in contrast to Israel's reluctance to condemn Russia's recent invasion of Crimea and to support publicly Ukraine's territorial integrity.
"Israel welcomes the election process which was conducted in Ukraine in a responsible and democratic manner, in which the president was elected with a majority of votes," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. "We respect the Ukrainian people's choice and hope that calm and peace will return to Ukraine soon."
Palmor stressed that "Israel remains committed to strengthening its bilateral ties and cooperation with Ukraine, and looks forward to working with its leadership to further promote the relations between our two countries."
Poroshenko secretly visited Israel a month ago, meeting with President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He stressed to them that he expects Israel to announce that it unequivocally supports maintaining Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Israel's well wishes followed months of maintaining neutrality regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Israel did treat dozens of Ukrainians who were injured during clashes in the European nation, but never expressed publicly even minimal support for the government in Kiev.
Rather, Israel went to great lengths not to criticize Russia, refusing to stand by the side of the United States and Europe regarding the crisis. Lieberman told senior American officials that Israel is remaining neutral because of its fear of a Russian reaction that would harm Israel's security interests regarding Syria and Iran.