Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned down Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request to make a solidarity visit to Israel, according to Israeli news sources.
Zelesnkyy decried the Hamas attacks and reaffirmed Israel’s “full right to defend itself,” drawing comparisons to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a statement from Oct. 7. Zelenskyy asked to visit Israel to make a show of support, but that request was denied by Netanyahu, who said he felt “it’s not the right time,” according to Israeli source Ynet.com.
Zelesnkyy planned to make a stop in Israel as part of his larger European tour, as he could not make a “standalone trip” given the status of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, according to Ynet. While Netanyahu said a visit from Zelesnkyy is not feasible now, he would welcome a trip in the future.
Zelesnkyy said that he and Netanyahu spoke over the phone a day after Hamas began carrying out attacks against Israel. Zelenskyy equated the attacks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has claimed the lives of nearly half a million people, according to Reuters.
“On Israel. I recall the early days of Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine. This was the worst tragedy, with many people killed. It was critical not to feel alone,” Zelenskyy said on Oct. 8. “This is why I urge all leaders to visit Israel and show their support for the people.”
Over 1,300 Israelis have been killed by Hamas since Oct. 7, and over 120 people – including Americans – have been taken hostage. The IDF launched a sweeping counteroffensive and launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, and is preparingfor a ground assault in the region to clear out Hamas forces.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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