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During a videoconference address to students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized Israel on June 23, accusing it of not having imposed sanctions on Russia. “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 the president in a speech in Ukrainian translated into English.

“Remember how intertwined our stories are,” Zelensky urges

The Ukrainian president, speaking from his office in Kyiv, said he was “grateful to the people of Israel” for their support, but told students that Ukraine would have “wanted to receive support from your government”. “How not to help the victims of such an attack [russe]? I am often asked the question of how Israel has helped, and what Israel can still do, but I do not know what to answer,” said the Ukrainian head of state.

Invited by the Israeli Parliament in March 2022 to speak to the Israeli elected members of the Knesset by videoconference, Volodymyr Zelensky had asked Israel to “make a choice” and support his country by providing it with weapons, even its system. “Iron Dome” missile defense system, used by the Jewish state in the face of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Israel took a cautious stance after the outbreak of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, claiming privileged ties with both countries, despite an episode of diplomatic tensions with Moscow after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks about the origins alleged Jews of Adolf Hitler. In addition, Israel has more than one million citizens from the former Soviet Union.

Remember how our stories are linked

Volodymyr Zelensky also tried to play the card of historical ties between Israel and Ukraine, saying that the childhood home of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was “five minutes” from the offices of the Ukrainian presidency. “Please remember how our stories are linked, how close our relationships are,” he said again, saying he did not understand the causes of “miscommunication” and miscommunication. a “misunderstanding” with the Israeli government.

Since the start of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine on February 24, more than 30,000 Ukrainians have fled to Israel, according to official figures. Some benefit from the “Law of Return”, which offers Jews, children or grandchildren of Jews the right to obtain Israeli citizenship. In addition, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to AFP the reopening in recent days of its embassy in kyiv, closed for security reasons at the start of the conflict.


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