Russia Ukraine conflict

Israel to maintain relations with Kyiv, Moscow: Prime Minister Bennett

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Israel’s prime minister says the country is managing its involvement with Ukraine and Russia “in a sensitive, generous and responsible way while balancing various and complex considerations” after Ukraine’s president called on Israel to take sides.

Naftali Bennett spoke on the tarmac at Israel’s main international airport as an aid delegation was set to depart for Ukraine to set up a field hospital for refugees near the Polish border.

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A day earlier Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rebuked Israel in a televised address to Israeli parliament members, saying Israel should provide arms and impose sanctions on Russia.

Israel has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia and has acted as an intermediary between the two sides since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. While Israel has condemned Russia’s invasion, it has also refrained from taking action that would anger Moscow out of concern of jeopardizing its military coordination in neighboring Syria.

Bennett said that “Israel has extended its hand in aid in the Ukraine crisis for several weeks, very much from the first moment, through different channels,” pointing to humanitarian aid shipments and taking in Ukrainian refugees and immigrants.

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