Speaking via video to students at the Jewish University in Jerusalem, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today criticized Israel for not imposing sanctions on Russia.
“Sanctions against Russia are a matter of values. Many European countries are on our side against Russian aggression, but unfortunately we do not see Israel participating in the sanctions,” Zelensky said in a speech in Ukrainian translated into English.
The Ukrainian president, speaking from his office in Kyiv, expressed “his gratitude to the Israeli people” for his support, adding that “we would like to receive the support of your government”.
Invited by the Israeli parliament in March to speak via video to Israeli lawmakers, Zelensky had called on Israel to “make a choice” and support its country by providing Ukraine with weapons and even an “Iron Cannon” missile defense system. (Iron Dome).
“How can you not help the victims of such a (Russian) attack? I am often asked how Israel helped? And what else can Israel do, but I do not know what to answer,” Zelensky said today.
The Jewish state took a cautious stance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, maintaining privileged ties with the two countries. It is also noted that Israel has over one million citizens originating from the former Soviet Union.
Zelensky today played the card of historical ties between Israel and Ukraine, saying that the house where former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir lived as a child is “five minutes” from the offices of the Ukrainian presidency.
“Please, remember how connected our stories are, how close our relations are and ask yourself what should be the level of understanding between us … Why is there a bad communication, a lack of understanding with the representatives of your government? I do not know” , he told the students.
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than 30,000 Ukrainians have taken refuge in Israel, according to official figures, many benefiting from the “Return Act”, which offers Jews, Jewish children or grandchildren the right to acquire Israeli citizenship.
At the same time, the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed to the French Agency the reopening of its embassy in Kyiv in the last days, which was closed for security reasons at the beginning of the Russian invasion.