LVIV, Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy chided Israel in an address to its parliament on Sunday (Mar 20), asking why it was not providing missile defences to his country or sanctioning Russia over its invasion.
Replying to Zelenskyy, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was non-committal, saying in a statement that Israel, which has sent a field hospital and other humanitarian aid to Ukraine, would continue to assist its people “as much as we can”.
A mediator in the Ukraine-Russia crisis, Israel has condemned the Russian invasion. But it has been wary of straining relations with Moscow, a powerbroker in neighbouring Syria where Israeli forces frequently attack pro-Iranian militia.
“Everybody knows that your missile defence systems are the best … and that you can definitely help our people, save the lives of Ukrainians, of Ukrainian Jews,” Zelenskyy, who is Jewish himself, told the Knesset in a video call.
“We can ask why we can’t receive weapons from you, why Israel has not imposed powerful sanctions on Russia or is not putting pressure on Russian business,” he said in the address, one of several he has made to foreign legislatures.
He mentioned Israel’s Iron Dome system, often used to intercept rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza.
“Either way, the choice is yours to make, brothers and sisters, and you must then live with your answer, the people of Israel,” Zelenskyy said.