In February of this year, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited Kyiv, becoming the first minister to visit Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. Cohen promised that Israel would provide a warning system and provide state guarantees for its construction, and it seemed that there had been a rapprochement between the two countries.
Almost four months have passed since Israel kept its promise to provide the warning system, but the Ukrainian embassy in Israel warns that the contacts are stuck in a series of channels – and more than in the past.
According to Ambassador Yevhen Kornychuk, Defense Minister Yoav Galant seems to be evading coordinating a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksiy Reznikov. The two have not spoken since Gallant took office. To illustrate, his predecessor Benny Gantz spoke with Reznikov at least three times. "There were no results, but at least there was dialogue," Kornychuk notes.
Defense Minister Yoav Galant, Photo: Jonathan Zindel/Flash90
In response to a request from Israel Hayom, Galant's office said that a call was not requested, and therefore there was no refusal. But Israel Hayom has been exposed to three calls to the minister's office since the beginning of the year – all to coordinate a conversation, one from Minister Reznikov himself.
At the same time, sources in Kyiv claim that President Zelensky has received two invitations to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Kyiv, but so far they have not been answered. According to the sources, at first the complicated political situation was explained, but even after it was resolved there was no change.
"All the heads of Western democracies have visited Kyiv since the war began, some several times," Kornychuk said. "Israel is exceptional in this respect."
"In Kiev do not understand"
According to him, the issue is particularly jarring in light of the fact that on May 3, Israel sent two deputy directors general of the Foreign Ministry to Moscow for talks with the Russian deputy foreign minister, and a week later a special envoy of Russian Minister Lavrov was hosted in Israel.
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During the visit to Kiev, Minister Cohen promised that Israel would provide Ukraine with a system to identify the site of missile landings, which would be integrated into the Ukrainian air defense system. The system has indeed been supplied and is currently being tested for integration, but according to the Ukrainians, there is no progress on the other promise: to provide a state guarantee of $200 million to build a hospital or dismantle mines. "Nothing is happening on this issue, and if it happens, then very slowly," Kornychuk says.
"Look," he concludes, "I can't demand, Israel doesn't owe us anything. I also understand the political difficulties of the current government, but in Kiev we cannot understand this when civilians die in bombings. They need immediate assistance. Israel must choose which side of history it is on."
The Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
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