Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, on 25 February, 2022. (Photo credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
On 2 March the ambassador of Ukraine to Israel, Yevgeny Kornichuk, confirmed that a number of Israelis have traveled to his country to fight against Russian troops.
However, Kornichuk could not provide exact figures of the number of Israeli combatants currently in Ukraine.
Speaking during a media conference in Tel Aviv the ambassador said Israelis had an obligation to help Kiev just “as we helped Jews in the Holocaust.”
שגריר אוקראינה קרא לישראלים בקול רועד: "עזרו לנו, כמו שאנחנו עזרנו ליהודים בשואה"https://t.co/sXPExTeDSY@OrRavid pic.twitter.com/SPwxYwHYvp
— החדשות – N12 (@N12News) March 1, 2022
The revelation by Kornichuk came just a few days after the Ukrainian embassy in Tel Aviv announced that it had started recruiting Israelis to fight against the Russian army.
In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, the embassy said that it “has begun the formation of lists of volunteers who wish to participate in combat actions against the Russian aggressor.”
It asked those interested in traveling to Ukraine to fight against Russian troops to send their personal information and military specialty to an email that was provided in the post.
The post was deleted a few hours after it was published with no explanation provided.
Despite Israeli law clearly forbidding its citizens from joining foreign armies, the Ukrainian embassy has insisted that those citizens who hold dual citizenship are exempted from this law.
On 27 February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that his government has formed an “international legion” and called on foreigners to join it the fight against the “Russian invasion.”
Following the call by Zelenskyy, hundreds of people from different countries have reportedly applied to join this mercenary army.
The move has created controversy as many countries have laws that forbid their citizens from joining foreign armed forces.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on 27 February said she would support Britons who want to take up arms against Russian troops, despite a warning by her own department saying that those who do so will be prosecuted upon their return to the UK.
On 24 February, Russia responded to pleas from the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk to defend its peoples and territories from Ukrainian aggression, launching a special military operation to neutralize Kiev’s offensive military capabilities and protect the borders of the breakaway republics.