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Ukrainian President Zelenskyy: Ukraine-Israel relations improving

Remarks come during commemoration of war’s one-year mark

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the media during a press conference as Ukraine marks one year since Russia's large-scale invasion, Feb. 24, 2023 (Photo: Aleksandr Gusev / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

The Ukrainian president announced at a press conference on Friday that relations between Ukraine and Israel are improving. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remarks followed an emotional address to his country and the world, in a ceremony that marked one year of war since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February. 

Responding to a question from an Israeli reporter asking how Israel is helping Ukraine against the Iranian threat, Zelenskyy said, “For a long time in this war, I was really looking forward to Israeli support. Not only from the public, but also from their political leadership.” 

The Ukrainian top diplomat said there have been conversations between the two countries at different levels of government, both publicly and privately. He admitted it was difficult for his government to change Israel’s position and acknowledged the importance for Israel to maintain relations with Russia into stabilize the security situation in Syria. 

Nevertheless, he called on Israel to “choose a side” – the “Ukrainian side.” 

Zelenskyy said he could not imagine Israel supporting Russia’s war. He also remarked on Israel’s own difficult past, with multiple wars and conflicts. 

Returning to the reporter’s question about how exactly Israel is helping Ukraine, especially against the threat of a nuclear Iran, Zelenskyy said, “I have all the answers to the question, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to share them here. I cannot jeopardize the improvement of Ukraine and Israel relations that have begun.” 

Two weeks ago, at the Munich Security Conference, Zelenskyy called on Israel to send Ukraine defensive weapons, specifically David’s Sling, its advanced surface-to-air anti-missile system. At that time, Zelenskyy said he thought Israel would eventually give Ukraine the hardware. 

Several days later, Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen made a visit to Ukraine, where he met with Zelenskyy, followed by two Ukrainian-born Israeli Knesset members who called on Israel to provide more military support to Ukraine. 

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

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