The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has summoned Israel’s ambassador to Kyiv to demand an explanation, following Israeli media reports that Jerusalem requested Moscow’s assistance in evacuating its citizens from Ukraine in case of war.
Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky attended the meeting at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Thursday, where according to Jerusalem he explained that Israel had two goals in the conversation with Russian officials: To urge deescalation and to express concern for Israeli diplomats and citizens.
According to a source, the ministry was upset by a report on the Walla news site that Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz spoke with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov with a request to establish humanitarian corridors for the safe exit of Israeli citizens and diplomats.
“You are treating us like what? The Gaza Strip or something? It’s just nonsense,” the source told Haaretz. “The ambassador will be called to the ministry to give an explanation.”
Israel is currently attempting to balance its relations with both Russia and Ukraine as Moscow amasses over 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, threatening to reignite a simmering conflict that has largely degenerated into static trench warfare in recent years.
Israel's Foreign Ministry declared a state of emergency on Saturday and urged the estimated 15,000 Israelis in Ukraine to leave as soon as possible, adding that it also anticipated an increase in immigration requests from the local Jewish community.
According to the Foreign Ministry, around 3,100 Israelis have been repatriated over the course of the past week.
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Kyiv is “disappointed” that Israel has not stepped up its diplomatic and moral support for Ukraine in the face of a Russian troop buildup on its borders, the same diplomatic source told Haaretz on Wednesday, stating that the relations between the two countries “cannot be unilateral.”
“We’re not asking for weapons, but for moral support and diplomatic effort,” the source told Haaretz, expressing anger that Sunday’s meeting between Ukraine's deputy foreign minister, Emine Dzhaparova, and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid did not result in a statement of support.
“There was no reaction whatsoever and Kyiv is disappointed. She repeatedly invited Lapid to visit Ukraine and maybe Russia afterward and use diplomatic efforts again and again, but there was no answer,” the official said.