By A.J. Cooke

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen accepted an invitation to visit Ukraine during a conversation on Thursday with his counterpart in Kyiv. Cohen would be the first Israeli government official to visit Ukraine since the country was invaded by Russia last February.

It remains unclear when the trip will take place. During the call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Cohen also pledged to permanently reopen Israel’s Embassy in Kyiv within 60 days, said the report. The embassy has been open only intermittently, with staff sometimes working from Poland. 

Cohen also urged Ukraine to up its efforts to confront Iran, which has been providing drones and other weapons to Moscow, and in particular to encourage European nations to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. The European Parliament on Wednesday voted 598-9 in favor of requesting the European Union blacklist the IRGC.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen on a giant screen as he delivers a speech during NATO Parliamentary Assembly annual session held in Madrid on November 21, 2022. At one time Ukrainian and Russian criminals were as thick as cyberthieves, but those relationships are increasingly strained. OSCAR DEL POZO/METANEWS

Moreover, Cohen pledged to continue providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and offered condolences for Wednesday’s helicopter crash that killed Ukraine’s interior minister, other officials and several children.

The top Israeli diplomat angered Kyiv earlier this month by speaking with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. That came after Cohen in his inaugural speech said that officials in Israel’s new government would talk less in public about the war in Ukraine.

Israel has shied away from arming Ukraine over fears of upsetting Russia, the leading player in Syria, where the IDF has in recent years conducted hundreds of strikes aimed at curbing Iran’s military entrenchment and the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah there and in Lebanon.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Photo credit: Twitter handle of US Secretary)

For his part, Lavrov sparked outrage on Wednesday by accusing the West of using Ukraine as a “proxy” in the pursuit of a Nazi-like genocide.

“Just as Napoleon mobilized practically all of Europe against the Russian Empire, just as Hitler mobilized and captured…the majority of European countries and sent them against the Soviet Union, now the United States has organized a coalition,” Lavrov said. “Through Ukraine as a proxy, they lead the war against our country with the exact same goal, the goal of the final solution to the Russian question. Just as Hitler wanted to finally solve the Jewish question.”

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.

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