Americans are ‘our secret weapon’: Ukrainian official urges US to push Israel for munitions

“The Americans are the only country that Israel is listening to,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk said.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A senior Ukrainian government official told an American news outlet that he and his American counterpart are attempting to pressure Israel into abandoning its neutral stance towards the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“The Americans are the only country that Israel is listening to,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk told Washington D.C.-based news site The Hill.

Yorniychuk said that he meets with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides on a weekly basis, and that the men regularly discuss ways to convince Israel to adopt an anti-Russia position.

“I’m joking, but I’m calling him [Nides] our secret weapon. This is why we discuss the different measures of support, and again, we need to change this major trend that makes Israel’s position different from the rest of the democratic world, and have more military technical cooperation,” he said.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022, Israel has maintained good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv.

Israel has declined to participate in American and European sanctions on Russia, due to the fact that Israeli law has no structure for imposing sanctions against countries that are not officially defined as enemy states. The Ukrainian ambassador said that he hoped U.S. pressure could force Israel into adopting the financial restrictions.

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“The issue of sanctions is also important, and the Americans are in a much better position to check whether the Israelis are following those sanctions or not,” Korniychuk told The Hill.

While Jerusalem has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as established a multimillion dollar field hospital that treated Ukrainian civilians, Israel has avoided sending weapons or other military support to Ukraine over fears of angering Moscow. The Israeli military has conducted in recent years devastating strikes on Iranian bases in Syria, where Russia is the leading player.

Ukraine recently refused to accept an incoming missile alert system offered to them by Israel, which would help Ukrainian civilians seek safety before airstrikes, instead demanding weapons.

Ukrainian officials, including President Volodomyr Zelensky, have repeatedly expressed their frustration with Israel’s position in the conflict.

A month into the Russian invasion, during a speech to the Knesset, Zelensky compared it to the Holocaust and claimed that Israel had a special moral obligation to intervene in the conflict. He later walked back his remarks.