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Zelensky: ‘I invited Netanyahu to visit Ukraine, but he didn’t come’

Ukrainian President Vlodomir Zelensky said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been invited to Ukraine but, unlike other world leaders, did not take up the offer.

Zelensky, speaking through an interpreter, was asked by Kan news about Ukraine’s relations with Israel as he gave a press conference during a NATO summit in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.

  • “Mr. Netanyahu has been invited to Kyiv… I invited the other two prime ministers who used to be before Mr. Netanyahu to Ukraine,” Zelensky said, referring to former premier Naftali Bennett and now-opposition leader Yair Lapid.
  • “So far, the prime ministers are different — the result is the same.”

Zelensky also remarked on Ukraine’s interest in receiving Israeli air defense equipment, and in particular, the anti-missile Iron Dome system.

  • “We asked in the beginning of the war, the result is just the same as with the prime ministers,” he said. Months have passed with no outcome, unfortunately.”

“Ukraine is really interested in preserving the important, historical, close connections between our states. Unfortunately, we don’t have any results so far.”

Last weekend Israel’s envoy to Ukraine, Ambassador Michael Brodsky, said that Kyiv’s support for anti-Israel resolutions at the UN impacts support from the Jewish State.

Ukraine supports anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations “in 90% of cases,” Brodsky said.

  • In an interview published Saturday by the online Ukrainian outlet Mirror of the Week, Brodsky called Ukraine’s stance “an abnormal situation, especially given the fact that Ukraine quite often turns to Israel with various requests.”

Israel has supported pro-Ukraine measures in the UN, including a nonbinding resolution on the first anniversary of the war that calls for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces.

However, unlike its Western allies, it has stopped short of providing military aid to Ukraine despite the latter’s repeated requests. While providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Israel has maintained a strict policy of not providing military aid, including systems that could help it intercept Russian missile and drone attacks.

  • It is, however, working with the Ukrainians on a missile alert system, based on its knowledge after years of rocket attacks.

The reasoning behind the decision not to supply arms is believed to be Israel’s strategic need to maintain freedom of operation in Syria, where the airspace is largely controlled by Russia. Israeli officials have also expressed fear that advanced military technology could fall into enemy hands and cited production and supply limitations.

Brodsky’s comments come as mutual frustrations have spiked in recent weeks.

Last week, the Foreign Ministry summoned Ukraine’s ambassador after he released a scathing statement accusing Israel of cooperating with Russia.

  • “We told him his comments don’t help,” said an Israeli official.

“We are trying to prevent a deterioration in the relationship.”

Netanyahu has ruled out providing Ukraine with the Iron Dome system citing concerns that sensitive technology could fall into the hands of Iran, which is supporting the Russian invasion with attack drones.

Source: TOI