Zelenskyy calls Iran ‘common enemy’ of Ukraine and Israel

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a meeting with Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Kyiv on Thursday, said that Iran is the “common enemy” of Ukraine and Israel

“We talked about deepening cooperation with Ukraine in the face of the Iranian threat in the international arena,” Israeli media quoted foreign minister Cohen as saying during the first visit by an Israeli minister to the war-torn nation since the Russian invasion began nearly a year ago

Cohen's visit comes after Ukraine and other Western countries accused Iran of supplying drones to Russia, which have been allegedly used by Moscow to carry out attacks on Ukraine

Also read: Russia launches fresh missile strikes after NATO ramps up support for Ukraine “Israel stands firmly in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and remains committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Cohen said during a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba

Cohen said his country was “committed to the sovereignty” of Ukraine, pledging support for Israeli projects in healthcare and civilian infrastructures in Ukraine

He said that Israel would also back Ukraine’s peace initiative at the United Nations next week

Zelensky said after the meeting that Israel “has always been our important partner in the Middle East

”  “I am grateful for the humanitarian aid provided,” he said in a statement

“We discussed the country’s participation in post-war reconstruction

Ukraine could use Israel’s experience in demining

” Zelensky said he hopes the visit by the Israeli minister will help further deepen bilateral cooperation

Shortly after arriving, the Israeli minister visited the Kyiv suburb Bucha, the site of an alleged massacre of Ukrainian civilians

  “The tragic images are still imprinted in my heart,” he told the press conference in Kyiv, adding that “Israel stands firmly against the killing of innocent civilians

” Cohen, who is due to meet Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, did not however announce any pledges of weapons which Ukraine has been requesting for months

He said his government would “support and help approve a guarantee for up to 200 million dollars for Israeli projects in health care and civilian infrastructures

” Israel has adopted a cautious approach since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last February, seeking to maintain neutrality between the warring sides

It has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine during the conflict but stopped short of delivering weapons

In February Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “certainly looking into” military aid for Ukraine, in an interview with CNN

This prompted Moscow to warn that further supplies of weapons to Ukraine will lead to an escalation of the conflict

“We are very grateful to the government of Israel for all humanitarian initiatives,” Kuleba told his Israeli counterpart on Thursday

He however emphasised that what was “most important” for Ukraine was victory on the battlefield

“Israel is aware of our list of military needs, and we will wait for the relevant decisions to be made, primarily regarding the protection of Ukrainian sky,” Kuleba said

The foreign minister also formally reopened the Israeli embassy in Kyiv

The diplomatic mission “will return to continuous activity, with the aim of strengthening relations between the countries,” Cohen said in an earlier statement

Cohen also paid his respects at Kyiv’s Babi Yar memorial to the almost 34,000 Jews massacred in 1941 while the city was under Nazi occupation

Israel has also emphasised its special ties with Moscow and more than a million Israeli citizens have origins in the former Soviet Union

  (With input from AFP)

Date:18-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link