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February 16, 2023 9:34 am

Israeli Foreign Minister Offers Support for Ukraine Peace Initiative at UN

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avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen speaks during a news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 16, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/Pool

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, due to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Thursday in the first such visit since Russia’s invasion last year, offered support for a Ukrainian peace initiative at the United Nations next week.

Israel has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but it has limited its assistance to Kyiv to humanitarian aid and protective gear.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who returned to power in December, has spoken about reviewing policy on the conflict but has stopped short of pledging any direct supply of arms to Kyiv.

The Israelis want to maintain a coordination hotline with Russia, set up in 2015 over their military strikes on suspected Iranian targets in Syria, where Moscow has a garrison. They are also mindful of the welfare of Russia’s big Jewish community.

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During a joint briefing with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Cohen said Israel would support a Ukrainian peace initiative at the United Nations next week and help secure up to $200 million for healthcare and infrastructure projects.

He added that Israel would also help develop a smart air raid early warning system.

Without mentioning Russia, Cohen said Israel remains “firmly in solidarity with the people of Ukraine” and supports Kyiv’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“I am proud to stand with Ukraine in the face of these challenging times,” Cohen said.

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