Amid fears of a Russian invasion, Dmytro Kuleba says Kyiv will accept Jerusalem playing ‘diplomatic role’; Lapid says Israel does not believe there will soon be a violent conflict.
Ukraine has called for Israeli assistance in air and internet protection amid fears of a Russian attack, the Eastern European foreign minister told Israeli television on Wednesday.
At a press conference, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said there was “deep cooperation” between Kyiv and Jerusalem, without elaboration.
“We are also interested in deep-rooted security cooperation … especially related to air defense,” he told a reporter from the Kan community channel.
“We can welcome Israel ‘s efforts to participate in communications between Ukraine and Russia,” he added, apparently due to the close ties between the Jewish state and both countries.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Jair Lapid said on Wednesday that Israel does not believe that there will soon be a violent conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
“I also do not think the world war is about to start,” he told Axios website.
Lapid said the disagreement had put Israel in a difficult position, since Russia and Ukraine had a large Jewish population.
“We have a responsibility to be aware of the Russia-Ukraine crisis that no other country has,” he said.
He also expressed concern that the crisis would hamper ongoing negotiations on the resumption of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which is an agreement that Israel has opposed.
“We would like the US to look into this matter more closely to prevent dangerous things from happening,” he said.
Quoting unnamed Israeli officials, a news source said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had called Lapid on Wednesday asking Israel to extradite to Russia the need for a recession.
According to the report, it was the second time Blinken had made a similar request to Lapid.
Israeli officials said they had discussed with Russia the need for a recession, adding that Lapid had planned to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the coming days.
Last week, Russia’s ambassador to Israel told The Times of Israel that talks between Russian and Israeli officials had not focused on Ukraine, while criticizing Western countries for arming Kyiv.