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Zelenskyy discusses war, refugees and pilgrims with Netanyahu

Thursday, 7 September 2023, 21:33
Zelenskyy discusses war, refugees and pilgrims with Netanyahu
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY. PHOTO: OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a phone conversation on 7 September with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, to discuss, among other things, the possibility of additional support being provided by the Israeli police at Hasidic pilgrimage sites in Ukraine.

Source: Office of the President of Ukraine

Details: Zelenskyy noted the importance of Israel's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

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Zelenskyy thanked Netanyahu for providing shelter to citizens of Ukraine who left for Israel as a result of the full-scale Russian aggression, and noted the reinstatement of free health insurance for them in Israel. 

The parties discussed possible ways Israel could support Ukraine in countering Russia's invasion.

The Ukrainian leader raised the issue of the increasing number of instances of entry to Israel being denied to Ukrainian citizens under the visa-free regime between the two countries and emphasised the need to rectify this situation. 

Given the approach of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the expected influx of Hasidic pilgrims to the city of Uman [in Cherkasy Oblast, central Ukraine – ed.], ways of ensuring the pilgrims’ safety were discussed.

Quote from Zelenskyy: "Ukraine always welcomes pilgrims with warmth and hospitality and is responsible for their security."

Details: According to Israeli estimates, about 50,000 Hasidic pilgrims may arrive in Uman this year. 

The Ukrainian president emphasised that currently, the bomb shelters at the pilgrimage sites in Uman can accommodate only about 11,000 people.

At the same time, given the full-scale Russian aggression and the constant threat of strikes by Russian missiles and Iranian-made drones, this year's pilgrimage will be attended by high security risks.

Quote from Zelenskyy: "This is a security challenge that requires an urgent joint response."

Details: The parties discussed the possibility of sending additional forces from the Israeli police to the pilgrimage sites.

They also exchanged views on cooperation between Ukraine and Israel in the international arena. 

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