Following Ukraine’s president’s request for Israel to take sides, Israel’s prime minister said the country is managing its relations with Ukraine and Russia “in a sensitive, generous, and responsible manner while weighing different and difficult issues.”
As an aid delegation prepared to leave for Ukraine to set up a field hospital for migrants near the Polish border, Naftali Bennett spoke on the tarmac at Israel’s biggest international airport.
In a televised address to Israeli Knesset members the day before, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy chastised Israel, suggesting that Israel should give weaponry and impose sanctions on Russia.
Israel has solid relations with both Ukraine and Russia, and since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, it has served as a mediator between the two countries. While Israel has criticized Russia’s incursion, it has hesitated from acting in a way that would enrage Moscow, fearing that it would jeopardize its military coordination in Syria.
“Israel has extended its hand in aid in the Ukraine issue for several weeks, very much from the beginning, through various routes,” Bennett added, referring to humanitarian aid shipments and the acceptance of Ukrainian refugees and immigration.