Ukraine’s Zelenskyy and Israel’s Netanyahu discuss Israeli support for Kyiv

While Israel has backed Ukraine diplomatically, it has not assisted the war-torn country with arms against Russian invasion.

sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during their meeting in Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy [File: Oded Balilty/Reuters]

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have held a meeting to discuss how Israel could assist Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The pair met as Zelenskyy pressed for more open help from the Israeli state on Thursday.

“The president noted the importance of Israel’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said a readout on Ukraine’s presidential website. “The two sides discussed possible paths of Israeli support for Ukraine in opposing Russia’s invasion.”

Netanyahu’s office said the two leaders discussed “the continuation of Israeli assistance to Ukraine, including to Ukrainian refugees in Israel, as well as the advancement of development assistance of civilian air defence systems”.

While Israel has supported Ukraine diplomatically, it has not assisted the country with arms as the 18-month conflict persists.

Israel has been taking heed it must coordinate its air strikes against Iran in Syria with Moscow, given Russia’s ties to Damascus.

During the meeting, Netanyahu also urged Zelenskyy to ensure the safety of Hasidic Jews arriving to the country later this month to central Ukraine for an annual pilgrimage.

The pilgrims, traveling from around the world, will visit the city of Uman, the burial place of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who revived the Hasidic movement and died in 1810.

Zelenskyy, who is of Jewish descent, said Ukraine is ready to accommodate the pilgrims, but noted air raid shelters can only hold 11,000 people, while Israel estimates up to 50,000 could take part.

“This is a security challenge which will require an emergency joint response,” the presidential website quoted him as saying.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies