Ukraine demands Israel publicly condemn Russia, approve $500m loan: Report
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has previously warned his cabinet would revise the country's foreign policy to 'move away' from western diktats
By News Desk - February 06 2023

(Photo credit: AP)

The Ukrainian government has laid down a list of demands it wants to be fulfilled by Israel ahead of an expected visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to Kiev this week.

These include a public condemnation of the Russian military invasion and the approval of a $500 million loan, according to Israeli and Ukrainian officials who spoke with Axios.

Israeli officials say Cohen is expected to offer a $50 million loan instead, as the previous government already rejected the request.

Cohen’s planned visit to the Ukrainian capital will be the highest-level visit by an Israeli official to the European nation since the start of the war one year ago.

According to the report, Kiev sees the visit as an opportunity to test the new government in Tel Aviv on its intentions and policy towards the war.

Ukraine’s shopping list also includes “a public statement of support by Israel for the peace plan that Zelensky presented last November, which includes a full Russian withdrawal from Ukraine.”

On top of this, Ukrainian officials want Tel Aviv to receive hundreds of wounded civilians and soldiers and to “recommit” to a joint project to build an early-warning system that could boost Kiev’s air defense capabilities.

Since the start of the war, Kiev has repeatedly demanded that Israel provide it with Iron Dome anti-missile batteries. However, Tel Aviv has balked at these demands out of fear of Russian repercussions.

A Ukrainian official quoted by Israel’s Walla news outlet said a potential meeting between Cohen and President Volodymyr Zelensky depended on “Israel’s willingness to take steps in Kiev’s favor.”

One of Cohen’s first acts after being appointed to his role last month was to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which set off alarms across the west.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government would revise the country’s foreign policy to “move away from giving in to dictates from the international community.”

However, in recent interviews, Netanyahu avoided questions on whether Israel would provide any military aid to Kiev, saying he would “look into” everything as part of a policy review.

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