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Israeli FM supports Ukraine peace initiative

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

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 USD 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.

Israel has provided assistance to Kyiv to humanitarian aid and protective gear, but has been apprehensive to provide more substantial aid.

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 also wish to maintain amicable relations due to Russia’s big Jewish community.

On 14 November 2022, Israel abstained on a UN General Assembly vote supporting a mechanism for Russia to pay reparations to Ukraine, breaking with the United States and the European Union

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