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March 7, 2022 4:37 pm
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Ukrainian Ambassador Thanks Israeli PM for Peace Efforts, Criticizes Lack of Defense Aid

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk dons a helmet during a news conference at his embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 7, 2022. REUTERS/Rami Amichay

Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel thanked Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for his attempts to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, but criticized Jerusalem for not providing Ukraine with defensive equipment as it fights a Russian invasion.

Bennett traveled to Moscow over the weekend and met personally with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to mediate between the warring sides.

“Thank you for the peace effort, this is priceless for us,” Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk said at a Monday press conference in Israel.

He acknowledged that Bennett, a religious Jew, broke the Sabbath in order to engage in the diplomacy, saying, “that is unprecedented. I don’t know of anything like that happening in the past.”

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Korniychuk compared Ukraine’s situation to Israel’s during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when the Jewish state beat back a surprise invasion led by Egypt and Syria.

However, the ambassador took issue with Israel’s lack of defensive aid to Ukraine, saying, “I don’t understand the limitations that Israel imposes.” He said conversations were ongoing over a possible acquisition of protective gear from Israel, and donned a helmet as an example.

“Explain to me how it’s possible to kill with this,” Korniychuk said of the helmet. “It’s for the defense of civilians. We hope to arrive at an agreement with the [Israeli] government.”

Korniychuk said talks were taking place regarding Israel “joining the sanctions” the West had imposed on Russia, and urged Israeli companies to “stop their business activities in Russia.”

The ambassador also expressed gratitude for Israel’s “contributions to field hospitals and logistical assistance.”

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