Israel warns its citizens to leave Ukraine immediately

“An escalation in Ukraine is liable to be fast and serious.”

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

The Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a fresh warning to Israeli citizens in Ukraine to immediately leave the country as the threat of war with Russia continues to escalate.

“An escalation in Ukraine is liable to be fast and serious,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“In order to aid Israeli citizens, the Foreign Ministry has decided to leave Ambassador Michael Brodsky and the staff of the Embassy in Kyiv for now, and to open tomorrow (on Sunday) in an unusual fashion the Consular Department in the Embassy, in order to provide travel documents for citizens who require them,” the statement added.

“The Foreign Ministry is following the developments, as well as the decisions of the US and Britain to evacuate their embassies in Kyiv and move to the city of Lviv, for the purpose of protecting the lives of the representatives of the State of Israel in Ukraine, while providing solutions for Israeli citizens.”

On Sunday, the Israeli Embassy in Kyiv will be open between the hours of 10:00a.m. and 2:00p.m.

Between 10,000-15,000 Israeli nationals are thought to currently be in Ukraine.

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Israel is also laying the groundwork for a potential airlift of 200,000 Ukrainians eligible for citizenship under Israel’s Law of Return.

The largest concentrations of Jews are in and around the cities of Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk. However, it isn’t clear if an airlift would be feasible in the middle of a war.

Israel’s last major airlift was Operation Solomon, a covert operation in which 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were evacuated within 36 hours amid a civil war.

So far, most Israeli nationals and Ukrainian Jews are remaining. Hebrew media reports indicate that regular flights from Kyiv to Tel Aviv have been mostly empty.