Israel’s ambassador returned to Kyiv on Monday, nearly three months after evacuating the embassy before Russia’s invasion, in order to determine if it is safe to resume normal diplomatic activity in the city.
In a photo posted to Twitter, Ambassador Michael Brodsky could be seen raising the Israeli flag outside the embassy building on Lesi Ukrainky Boulevard. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Haaretz that Brodsky is on a two-day trip to evaluate the situation in the city and see “if they can return to Kyiv permanently.”
The diplomats returned to check on their homes and to see if the embassy has remained “intact” and will be holding meetings with Ukrainian officials and local embassy staffers who remained behind when the Israeli diplomatic mission left for Poland, Brodsky told Haaretz.
Brodsky said the delegation is looking into the possibility of returning to Kyiv on a permanent basis soon, but added that he could not say exactly how soon, as the decision must be taken in coordination with the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
The Foreign Ministry announced on February 21 that it would close its Kyiv embassy and move its remaining diplomats in Ukraine to Lviv amid fears of the impending Russian invasion. Several days later the embassy was again relocated to Poland.
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Despite multiple nations announcing the return of their ambassadors to Kyiv last month in the wake of Russia’s retreat from the city’s suburbs, Israel announced as recently as April 25 that it had no plans for reestablishing its diplomatic mission on Ukrainian soil. "At the moment we are still in Poland. Monitoring closely the decisions being made by other countries – the U.S., the U.K., the EU countries,” Brodsky said at the time.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed last month that the Israeli diplomats are still working from Poland, explaining that the decision to send personnel to either Kyiv or the western city of Lviv “will be taken based on the information we will have regarding the safety of our diplomats.”
Asked to elaborate on the ministry’s safety criteria, the spokesman said that the ministry’s security unit would be making that decision but that it was not "a mathematical equation."
Israel was almost forced to close down its Kyiv embassy earlier this year after employees announced a strike to protest the ministry's decision to cut salaries for diplomats