Ukraine Embassy in Israel Calls for Volunteers to Fight Against Russian Invasion

The embassy removed the post calling to volunteer after Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk told Haaretz that Kyiv is particularly interested in combat medics

Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol
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A Ukrainian soldier runs holding his weapon outside a military facility, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday.
A Ukrainian soldier runs holding his weapon outside a military facility, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday.Credit: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol

The Ukrainian embassy in Tel Aviv called on Saturday for volunteers to fight on its behalf, stating that it began compiling lists of people “who wish to participate in combat actions against the Russian aggressor.”

Addressing “people who wish to participate in the protection of Ukraine from Russian military aggression” in a Facebook post the embassy called on people who “are ready to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine” to submit their personal details and a description of their military expertise in order to be contacted regarding opportunities to serve. The embassy later removed the post.

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Speaking with Haaretz, Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk said that his staff have already “started gathering volunteers,” and that he was particularly interested in combat medics. Ukraine recently opened up recruitment to its Armed Forces to citizens of any age and has been arming civilians in its last ditch effort to repel the Russians.

“We have a few people ready who are willing to go, and we actually have some requests from people who want to go as fighters to the armed forces. We are forming those groups – we should probably have [transit] corridors ready for them maybe tomorrow or at the latest on Monday. We have had a lot of volunteers,” he said.

Screenshot of the Facebook post by the Ukrainian embassy in Israel on Saturday.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the Ukrainian call for volunteers.

On Friday, Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, called Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and asked Israel to mediate a ceasefire with Russia.

The New York Times quoted Ukrainian Ambassador Korniychuk, as confirming the call. Separately, Israel’s state-owned Kan public television said Zelensky called Bennett on Friday as Kyiv was under siege.

Zelensky argued to Bennett that Israel is the only country that enjoys close relations with both countries.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looks at a front-line position from a shelter as he visits eastern Ukraine, February 2022.Credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

Korniychuk said the proposal was to have the talks in Israel. Russia reportedly has offered to launch talks in Belarus, its ally, which is facilitating its massive invasion.

Russian forces are currently pressing their attack on Ukraine, unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks from three sides in an attack that could rewrite the global post-Cold War security order.

There is currently street fighting in Kyiv, the capital, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the city "could well be under siege" in what U.S. officials believe is a brazen attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to dismantle the government and install his own regime.

While Israel has offered humanitarian aid, Ukraine has long been critical of Israel’s stance on its conflict with Russia.

JTA and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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