Ultimatum: Zelensky meeting with Israel’s top diplomat canceled if demands not met

Ukraine threatens to cancel diplomatic meeting with Zelensky unless Jerusalem forks over a half-billion dollars to Kyiv and issues formal condemnation of Russia.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Ahead of a long-awaited visit by Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to Kyiv, Ukrainian officials have reportedly prepared a list of demands for Jerusalem, including a $500 million loan and that Israel publicly condemn Russia.

A Ukrainian official told Hebrew-language outlet Walla News that if Jerusalem refuses Ukraine’s demands, Cohen will not be allowed to meet with President Volodomyr Zelensky.

“The president won’t meet Cohen for a photo-op,” the official threatened, though an Israeli official told Walla that the meeting would likely take place regardless of whether Jerusalem agrees to the demands.

Previous Israeli governments have repeatedly turned down Ukraine’s request for the half-billion-dollar loan, and Cohen is only prepared to offer one-tenth of that amount.

Among other demands pushed forward by Kyiv is that Israel provide extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation for wounded Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, at Israel’s expense; that Israel abandon its neutral stance regarding the conflict and publicly renounce Russia; that Israel provide Ukraine with defensive technology, including an Iron Dome-like missile defense system that could shoot down incoming rockets and UAVs; and that Israel back a Ukrainian-created peace agreement that would demand the removal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, including the disputed Crimea region.

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For the duration of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Israel has avoided taking sides. Russia has de facto control over Syrian airspace, and Israel regularly carries out airstrikes against Iranian assets in the region. Should Israel publicly speak out against Russia, it’s likely that Jerusalem would lose the ability to continue with its anti-Iranian proxy campaign in Syria.

In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Israel against sending military aid to Ukraine.

Israel has provided extensive humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including a multimillion-dollar field hospital and medical staff. But Ukrainian officials have long dismissed Israel’s gestures of goodwill, framing Israel’s refusal to condemn Russia as unacceptable and demanding weapons from the Jewish state.

Ukrainian officials have also turned down an Israeli offer for a missile alert system that would allow civilians to take cover ahead of airstrikes.

In recent months, Ukraine has repeatedly voted against Israel at the United Nations, supporting pro-Palestinian measures, including those calling for an international investigation into Israel’s alleged war crimes against the Palestinians.