Israel's foreign minister to visit Ukraine, no date set

Israel has sought to maintain relations with both countries even as it has condemned Russia's war on Ukraine and has provided humanitarian assistance. 

 Investigators work a site of a residential building damaged during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the village of Stari Bezradychi, in Kyiv region, Ukraine December 19, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)
Investigators work a site of a residential building damaged during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the village of Stari Bezradychi, in Kyiv region, Ukraine December 19, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba invited his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen to visit his country when the two men spoke on Thursday. 

The invitation was confirmed by Cohen's office, which said that no date had been set for the trip. 

Should Cohen travel to Ukraine, he would be the highest-ranking Israeli to visit the country since Russia opened a war against it last February.

The two men also discussed Israeli plans to fully reopen its embassy in Kyiv and to increase its humanitarian assistance to that war-torn country. 

"I just spoke with my colleague Kuleba and informed him of the return of the Israeli Embassy to full activity in Kyiv within 60 days," Cohen tweeted.

 Israeli embassy moves from Kyiv to Lviv amid Russia-Ukraine tensions.  (credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY) Israeli embassy moves from Kyiv to Lviv amid Russia-Ukraine tensions. (credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY)

"I just spoke with my colleague Kuleba and informed him of the return of the Israeli Embassy to full activity in Kyiv within 60 days."

Eli Cohen

It was the first conversation between the two men since Cohen took office earlier this month. He has already spoken with his Russian counterpart Sergi Lavrov.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also spoken with both the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, since his new government was sworn in late last month.

Israel walks tightrope amid Russia-Ukraine War

Israel has sought to maintain relations with both countries even as it has condemned Russia's war on Ukraine and has provided humanitarian assistance. 

Its embassy in Kyiv had ceased operating full-time when the war broke out last February, with staff members relocating to neighboring Poland for safety. Has restored a lot of its operations and will be fully operational within 60 days, Cohen said.

In addition, he tweeted, "I promised to continue the humanitarian aid with an emphasis on the restoration of energy infrastructure."

To date, Israel has provided Ukraine with some $30 million in humanitarian assistance, including medical supplies, generators and charging stations for phones.

Kuleba said that Cohen had "condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine" and "affirmed Israel's plans to step up humanitarian aid and assistance in other spheres."

The two men "discussed cooperation within international organizations" and "ways to counter shared security threats," Kubela said.

Cohen said he had asked Kubela for Ukraine to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror organization. To date, only the United States, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have done so. Cohen's request comes as Russia has used armed Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

Israel has in the past promised to provide Ukraine with an early alert system to help it warns citizens of missiles and drones in a more targeted fashion, but the system has yet to be delivered.

Israel has also been under pressure from Ukraine to provide it with defensive weapons, such as an anti-missile and anti-drone system, but to date, the Jewish state has refused to do so.