Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday telling that Israel stands firmly in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and will support Zelensky’s peace plan at the UN.
In the highest profile visit by Israel since the start of the current conflict, Cohen also held a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and committed to provide Ukraine with $200 million in aid and an air defense system within three months.
“Israel stands firmly in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and remains committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Cohen said during a press conference. He added that Jerusalem would support Zelensky’s peace plan at an upcoming United Nations meeting.
During their meeting, Zelensky made it clear to Cohen that Israel and Ukraine share a common enemy: Iran. Such a common understanding was one of the goals of the Israeli mission to Ukraine – to enlist Ukraine to speak out in the international arena on the Iranian issue.
“We talked about deepening cooperation with Ukraine in the face of the Iranian threat in the international arena,” Cohen told Israeli reporters in Kyiv, adding that “Iran’s evil face was revealed in Ukraine.”
Iran has been accused of supplying Russia with drones for use in Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces have many times reported shooting down Iranian-made drones.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) February 16, 2023
Reports say that the two leaders discussed an early warning system developed and provided by Israel and about Israeli aid for specific projects and medical care for civilians and wounded soldiers.
Cohen said he hoped to send the system within three months. He also promised to secure a funding guarantee worth $200 million for healthcare and infrastructure projects.
Earlier in the day, Cohen visited Kyiv’s nearby town of Bucha, which became known for mass killings of civilians under the Russian occupation and visited the houses of Jewish residents of Bucha.
Cohen said, “It is impossible to remain indifferent in the face of the harsh sights and horror stories that I have heard and been exposed to. Israel condemns any intentional harm to innocents.”
The minister then went to Babi Yar, one of the most known sites of mass killings of Soviet Jews by Nazis. There, Cohen said a prayer together with the members of the Jewish community and lay flowers to the memorial of the Holocaust victims.
Zelensky issued a positive statement about Cohen’s visit as the foreign minister headed out of the city. “Israel has always been our important partner in the Middle East. This is the first visit of an Israeli representative since the beginning of the full-scale invasion,” the president said.
“We discussed deepening bilateral cooperation in various areas. I invite Israel to join the implementation of our Peace Formula; I am grateful for the humanitarian aid provided. We discussed the country’s participation in post-war reconstruction. Ukraine could use Israel’s experience,” Zelensky said.
This year, we want to do more to bless Israel and the Jewish people.
We know that as we bless Israel this year, God will bless us, just as He promised in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Now is the time to bless Israel and the Jewish people.