Israeli Health Minister to Visit Ukraine Next Week

Nitzan Horowitz will visit Israel's field hospital near the Moldovan border and meet with his Ukrainian counterpart in first visit by an Israeli minister since the war began

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Banner is placed at the entrance to a field hospital deployed by the humanitarian mission of the state of Israel on the premises of a local school two weeks ago.
Banner is placed at the entrance to a field hospital deployed by the humanitarian mission of the state of Israel on the premises of a local school two weeks ago.Credit: PAVLO PALAMARCHUK/ REUTERS

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz will visit Israel's field hospital in Ukraine next week, in the first visit by an Israeli minister to the country since the Russian invasion last month.

During the visit, which was coordinated with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid over the past two weeks, Horowitz will also meet with his Ukrainian counterpart.

The 66-bed Kochav Meir field hospital was inaugurated last week in the western Ukrainian city of Mostyska, on the Moldovan border, by Sheba Medical Center and Israel's health and foreign ministries. It is run by more than 60 doctors and nurses from across Israel, and can care for up to 150 patients at a time.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz in January.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister's Office announced that in light of the humanitarian situation in the country and the need to provide medical care to those in need, the cabinet approved establishing the field hospital, which includes a pediatric and adult hospitalization facilities, an intensive care unit, delivery room and first aid clinic.

The project costs 21 million shekels ($6.5 million), and is funded by the foreign and health ministries, the Prime Minister's Office, the Schusterman Family Foundation and the Joint Organization.

"We appreciate the assistance of the Israeli people and government and support dialogue. I spoke to Ayelet Shaked and hope a solution to the refugee problem will also be found," Ukraine's ambassador to Israel Yevgen Kornichuk said at a press conference on Friday.

Also at the conference, lawmaker Olga Vasilevskaya-Smaglyuk who is visiting Israel with a Ukrainian delegation that has come to discuss a ceasefire with Russia urged Israel "to impose sanctions like the U.S. and Europe."

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops on February 24 for what he calls a "special military operation" to demilitarize Ukraine. Western countries call it an unprovoked war of aggression and say Putin's real aim was to topple Ukraine's government in a campaign that has so far failed, due to strong Ukrainian resistance and poor Russian logistics.

Over the past 10 days, Ukrainian forces have recaptured suburbs near Kyiv, broken the siege of Sumy in the east and driven back Russian forces advancing on Mykolaiv in the south.

In the latest Ukrainian advance, the United Kingdom's Defense Ministry said on Friday that Ukrainian forces had recaptured villages linking Kyiv with the besieged northern city of Chernihiv.

At talks this week, Moscow said it would reduce offensives near Kyiv and Chernihiv to build trust at peace talks. Kyiv and its allies say Russia is pulling troops out of those areas, not as a goodwill gesture but to regroup, because they have taken heavy losses.

The Russians are still bombarding cities even as they pull out, and could be preparing a major new assault in the southeast, where they say they want to "liberate" the Donbas region claimed by the separatists, including Mariupol.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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