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June 1, 2015 4:39 pm

Ukraine Moving Beyond History of Antisemitism to Develop Warm Ties With Israel

avatar by David Daoud

Recent years have witnessed the dramatic improvement in ties between Israel and the Ukraine. PHOTO:iHLS

Despite a long history of antisemitism, pogroms, and collaboration with the Nazis during World War II, Ukraine’s relations with the Jewish state are starting to blossom of late, Israeli news site NRG reported on Sunday.

According to the report, recent years have seen meaningful improvements and increased closeness in ties between the Eastern European nation and Israel.

News bulletins in recent months revealed that Israel has been sending military aid to Ukraine, much to the chagrin of neighboring Russia. Israel reportedly began exploring the expansion of arms trade with Ukraine after Moscow lifted a ban on the sale of the advanced S-300 missile-defense system to Iran, a move it has long opposed.

Israel has also offered to assist Kiev diplomatically in its conflict with Moscow over Crimea, which Russia invaded and then annexed in 2014.

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Trade between Israel and Ukraine now totals $1.3 billion dollars, and includes cooperation in the hi-tech sector, where Israel is a world-leader.

In light of these improvements in ties, relations between Jerusalem and Kiev have never been better, NRG said.  Last Thursday, an honorary Israeli consulate was opened in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov. During the inaugural ceremony, Israeli parliamentarians, Ukrainian officials and local Jewish community leaders spoke of the similarities between the two countries. Among the challenges shared by both countries is conflict with an enemy that threatens its basic security.

“The people of Israel understand what it means to fight for their own state,” said Oleg Vishnikov, a Ukrainian businessman who was given the title of Israel’s honorary consul. “The people of Israel are experts at security, and I want this expertise to be shared with Ukraine.”

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