Ukrainian President in Israel: ‘Ukraine stands with the State of Israel’

Both presidents expressed hope for close ties between the two countries.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The Presidents stand for the anthems. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko began a two-day state visit to Israel on Tuesday with a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

The Presidents stood together for the national anthems, viewed an IDF honor guard, and delivered brief media statements before holding a working bilateral meeting.

Rivlin stated that Ukraine and Israel “enjoy wonderful progress and cooperation – in education, medicine, culture, and in economics, where our trade has grown from strength to strength” and expressed his hopes for future good relations and the further strengthening of ties.

Poroshenko, who is in Israel on his first official visit and is accompanied by his wife Maryana, stated that “as I begin this visit, I declare that Ukraine stands with the State of Israel.”

Citing similarities between the two countries in their struggle for independence in the face of regional adversities, he praised the resilience of the Israeli people over the years and said, “I have always admired the faith and determination of the Israeli people, and we can learn a lot from the Israeli people’s bravery and patriotism, and the way in which the Jewish people have built up their country. Titanic efforts have been made to raise the country from the ashes, and save its culture and traditions.

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“Since its independence, your country has faced serious external military threats, in spite of which you have undergone a remarkable transformation. You have propelled Israel to the top in the science, the economy, in military power. Your country stands united, and my country is on a similar path and the same stand. I see my visit to Israel has an opportunity to endorse unbreakable bonds between our nations, and exchange with you about common challenges and ways to overcome them. Your knowledge and your experience, is very important for us here Mr. President.”

Poroshenko extended an invitation to Rivlin to visit Ukraine early next year.

The Ukrainian leader is slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and address the Knesset, as well as visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and meet with Theophilos III, patriarch of the Church of Jerusalem.

Israel’s welcoming of the Ukrainian president may anger the Kremlin, as Ukraine and Russia have been battling over control of areas in Ukraine for the past two years, during which Israel has attempted to maintain neutrality on the issue, resisting US pressure to take a stand against Russia’s invasion of Crimea, fearing it could cause damage to relations with Moscow.