Mon, 08 Aug 2022

Ukraine may suspend visa-free travel for Israelis
26 Jun 2022, 13:49 GMT+10

Kiev's envoy accuses Israel of treating Ukrainians unfairly

Ukraine's ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, has criticized the host country for refusing free entry to Ukrainian citizens, saying that Kiev is currently contemplating whether to retaliate reciprocally.

"We are now considering whether to suspend the visa-free regime for Israelis," Korniychuk said in a recent interview, and confirmed to Israeli media on Saturday. "Right now it will be intangible, but by Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year], the Israeli government will feel it."

"We insist that there be complete reciprocity. If Ukrainians are required to have an electronic visa - Israelis will also be required to have such a visa," he told Yedioth Ahronoth. The government in Kiev, he said, takes is "painfully" that the citizens of Russia and Belarus are allegdly allowed free entry, while the Ukrainians are being discriminated against.

The diplomat also said that in the face of a "huge misfortune" Kiev expects all possible help from its "partners," regardless whether it's paid or free, while Israel seems to be sitting on the fence and "waiting to see which side starts winning."

The Israeli Interior Ministry announced back in March that Ukrainians visiting Israel would have to fill out a special form before entering the country, and set a cap on non-Jewish refugees, with authorities in Kiev blasting it as "an unfriendly step." 

It's not the first time the Ukrainian diplomat criticizes the policies and percieved lack of support from Israel. Earlier this month Korniychuk urged the Israeli government "to move away from its comfort zone and get back to reality," demanding more "military-technical support" and weapon supplies, including Spike anti-tank guided missiles and Iron Dome missile defense systems.

Since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February, Israel has provided humanitarian assistance and non-lethal aid to Kiev, but has refrained from sending arms, breaking with a long list of US allies supplying light and heavy weapons.

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