Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed Israel Thursday for failing to impose sanctions on Russia, during a videoconference address to students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“Imposing sanctions against Russia is a matter of values. Many European countries are on our side against Russian aggression but unfortunately we do not see Israel joining” the sanctions, said Mr. Zelensky, in a speech in Ukrainian translated into English.
The President Ukrainian, who was speaking from his office in Kyiv, said he was “grateful to the people of Israel” for their support adding that “we would have liked to receive the support of your government”.
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Invited by the Israeli Parliament in March to speak to Israeli elected officials by videoconference, Mr. Zelensky had asked Israel to “make a choice” and support his country by providing it with weapons, even its anti-missile defense system. “Iron Dome”.
“How not to help the victims of such (Russian) aggression? I am often asked the question, how has Israel helped? and what else can Israel do but I don't know what to answer,” Zelensky said on Thursday.
The Jewish state took a cautious stance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, arguing special ties with both countries. In addition, Israel has over one million citizens from the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Zelensky played the historic ties between Israel and Ukraine on Thursday, saying the childhood home of former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir was “five minutes” from the offices of the Ukrainian presidency.
“Please remember how intertwined our histories are, how close our relationships are and ask yourself what the level of understanding between us should be (…) Why is there is there miscommunication, misunderstanding with your government officials? I don't know,” he told the students.
Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than 30,000 Ukrainians have fled to Israel, according to official figures, many benefiting from the “Law of Return”, which offers Jews, children or grandchildren of Jews, the right to obtain Israeli citizenship.
Furthermore, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to AFP the reopening in recent days of its embassy in kyiv, which was closed for security reasons at the start of the conflict.