Ukraine will not stop trying to protect its citizens - opinion

Zelensky said that in light of the fact that Iran is helping Russia, Ukraine and Israel now have a common enemy.

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during an interview in September (photo credit: VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during an interview in September
(photo credit: VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post’s October 27 editorial attacked Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. He came under attack for expecting Israel to provide Ukraine with the means to defend itself against air attacks by Russia. 

In the Haaretz Democracy Conference, Zelensky stated that Russia was aided by Iran in carrying out these air attacks. The president pointed out that in light of the fact that Iran is helping Russia, Ukraine and Israel now have a common enemy. The president implored Israel to help Ukraine protect its citizens against Iranian-backed Russian aggression.

The editorial was replete with historical details surrounding the relationships between all of the parties. I won’t repeat all the details here; suffice it to say many of them were incorrect.

Instead of entering into a historical debate that would distract us from the reality of the current situation, I prefer to reiterate Zelensky’s plea.

Reiterating Zelensky's plea

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint news conference with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi (not pictured), as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 26, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint news conference with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi (not pictured), as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 26, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)

The president rightly asserts that Iran is now heavily involved in the war in Ukraine, helping Russia to murder Ukrainian citizens. Iran is also currently involved in attacks on Israel, not only through Hezbollah on the border of Israel and Lebanon but also with the use of technology. 

These factors should strengthen Israel’s resolve to help Ukraine and its citizens in the face of brutal air attacks by Russia, aided by our common enemy, Iran.

When Zelensky turned to Israel for defensive assistance against this common enemy, it is hard to comprehend how such a request could be rejected. Israel is entitled to ignore the request; that is its right. But we do not understand how it is possible to criticize the request itself. 

Aside from the issue of Iranian involvement, we still believe that even before Iran got involved, Israel should have helped to protect Ukrainian citizens against the indiscriminate, murderous attacks that are taking place in civilian cities, not on the battlefield. When those attacks are being carried out with the aid of Israel’s number one enemy, Israel should mobilize to help us prevent the murder of thousands of innocent Ukrainians. 

It is the president’s duty to appeal to countries that might help protect Ukraine and its citizens, even if that appeal is met with criticism and ultimately fails. The president will not be able to look his people in the eye if he does not turn over every stone in a bid to protect his countrymen.

The Jerusalem Post editorial has led us to believe that your support lies with the aggressors – the Russians who carry out barbaric attacks on innocent people in Ukrainian cities. These aggressors do not spare innocent civilians – men, women and children, whose only sin is to live in a Ukrainian city. We are baffled by this. 

President Zelensky and I, as Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, will not stop making every effort to secure the best possible means of protection for our citizens.

The writer is the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel.