Israel Joins UN Critics of Russia’s ‘Occupation’ of Crimea

Israel has gradually abandoned its neutrality on the Crimea issue amid a deterioration in relations with Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Oct. 3, 2018.
Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP

Israel voted in favor of a UN resolution condemning Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

The General Assembly vote Monday demonstrated how Israel has gradually abandoned its neutrality on the Crimea issue amid a deterioration in relations with Russia.

The resolution calls on Russia to withdraw armed forces from what the signers call “temporarily occupied” Crimea. It also condemns the growing military presence of Russia in the Black and Azov Seas and obstruction of navigation.

Israel, the United States as well as all EU and NATO member states were among 66 countries that supported the resolution. Nineteen countries voted against the document’s adoption and 72 abstained, according to the Ukrinform agency.

Israel, whose representatives were absent during a 2014 General Assembly vote on the Russian takeover of Crimea, has since voted several times in favor of UN resolutions condemning Russia over the matter.

Russia has consistently supported UN resolutions that were very critical of Israel. Setbacks in bilateral ties include following the downing earlier this year in Syria of a Russian plane. Syrian anti-aircraft missiles destroyed the plane minutes after Israeli bombers carried out a mission in Syria. Russia blamed Israel for the incident, though Israeli officials rejected the allegation.