Ukrainian PM acknowledges threats on Israel, advises Jewish state to be vigilant

Ukrainian PM Volodymyr Groysman cautioned Israel against the threats it faces and said that he was convinced the Jewish state could identify with the Ukraine's plight of dealing with terror.

May 19, 2017 18:15
2 minute read.
Volodymyr Groysman

Volodymyr Groysman . (photo credit: UKRAINE CRISIS MEDIA CENTER)


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Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman acknowledged that the State of Israel is under constant threats and urged the Jewish state to be vigilant and always on the lookout in an interview with Channel 9, Israel's Russian-language news channel.

"I'm convinced that there are things that threaten Israel... you should always be wary," Groysman, the first openly Jewish Ukrainian premier, said in the full interview that will be aired on Friday evening.

Groysman's allusion to the security threats emanating from Israel's neighboring countries came after he was asked about the tumultuous security situation in his own state.

He explained that he was certain that Israel could easily understand the situation Ukraine is facing, because it has been suffering for many years from wars and terror attacks that continue to threaten Israeli lives. 

"For Israel, this situation is familiar, when Israeli territory is bombed, when there are people hurt, killed and injured, it's the same with us," he said, relating to Russia's heightened and aggressive military presence in Ukraine.

"This is Moscow's responsibility. I'm talking only about the responsibility of the Russian regime, because the regime makes the decisions about what's done in this matter.

I'm convinced that there are things that threaten Israel as well. You can [choose to] not pay attention to it and you can openly pay attention to it. I'm hopeful that you are witnessing what is happening, you should always be wary," Groysman added.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister also addressed the volatile civil war still unfolding in Israel's neighbor up north, Syria. Speaking about Russia's involvement in the conflict between the different rebel groups and Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, Groysman said: "You should always be afraid of anyone who is capable of attacking. We see what is happening today in Syria... Look what has happened in Georgia in 2008 [the Russo-Georgian War], look what has happened to Ukraine, what is happening in Moldova. To my dismay, Russia today is an aggressive country and the Russian military is a destructive army."

Groysman is currently on an official visit to Israel. Speaking to the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Groysman said of his stay in Israel that "this is a friendly and constructive visit."

The Ukrainian Prime Minister spoke favorably about the trade and bilateral agreement that Kiev and Jerusalem signed together on Monday. "Yesterday, in the presence of [Netanyahu], we signed several bilateral agreements, including healthcare, employment, customs and finalizing work on the free-trade area agreement. The first months of 2017 saw an increased trade turnover between our countries."

Groysman also stressed in his conversation with the Post that relations between Israel and Ukraine are tighter and better than ever. "Israel is an absolute friend of Ukraine with a common history," he emphasized. 

Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.

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