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Netanyahu and Zelenskyy discuss shared concern of increasing military cooperation between Russia and Iran

First direct meeting between Netanyahu and Ukrainian president since start of war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 19, 2023 (Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday evening.

Upon entering the meeting - the first between the two leaders since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022 - Zelenskyy was asked by Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, what he expects from Israel.

“A lot,” replied the Ukrainian premier.

Zelenskyy commented on the large entourage accompanying Netanyahu, saying, “You have a very big team.”

In the meeting, the Israeli prime minister pledged to continue providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine, not the military weaponry that Ukraine has asked for.

In the past, Netanyahu claimed he did not want to provide anti-missile defense systems like David’s Sling or Arrow 3 out of fear the Iranians would get access to the technology, if the Russians were to capture the equipment in fighting.

Shortly after greeting Netanyahu, Zelenskyy saw Israel's Mossad Director David Barnea, who accompanied Netanyahu to the UN to testify about Iran’s continued aggression in the Middle East.

Zelenskyy and the Intelligence chief exchanged a hug and some whispered comments, which led many commentators to believe the two had met previously.

During the work meeting between Israel and Ukraine, the two countries also discussed Iran's recent attempts to increase weapons sales, particularly drones, and the need for ongoing bilateral security cooperation.

Barnea reportedly spoke at length with Ukrainian Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak.

Following that meeting, Zelenskyy and Netanyahu reportedly spoke in private for about 15 minutes.

According to both leaders, “the meeting was friendly” and “good.”

Following the meeting, the Ukrainian leader posted a message to X, formerly Twitter, stating:

“Focused talks with Netanyahu on our cooperation, including in civil defense area. I informed him about Russian strikes on our cities, ports, and critical infrastructure using Iranian drones. We share concern about the increasing military cooperation between Russia and Iran.”

Netanyahu has yet to respond to Zelenskyy’s invitation to visit Ukraine. However, several coalition government members have already made official visits.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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