Ukraine envoy says Israel is 'open to oligarchs, not Ukrainian refugees'

In a Twitter post, Ambassador Yevhen Korniichuk slams Israel for placing what he says 'unneeded' restrictions and regulations on refugees seeking to enter Jewish state; warns Ukraine may pause visa exemption for Israelis in response

Itamar Eichner|
The Ukrainian envoy on Tuesday criticized Israel once again for its treatment of Ukrainian refugees, saying the Jewish state is opening its doors to "oligarchs, but not refugees".
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  • The post came one week after Ambassador Yevhen Korniichuk was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem and reprimanded for similar claims.
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    יאיר לפיד,  יבגן קורניצ'וק
    יאיר לפיד,  יבגן קורניצ'וק
    Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid and Ambassador Yevhen Korniichuk
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoiski, Israel's Ukrainian Embassy)
    “No entry for Ukrainian women and children without an electronic visa, free entry to Russian oligarchs,” said the post published on Twitter, which added that the government was in violation of international agreements and banning women and children from entry.
    In an interview, Korniichuk told Ukrainian press that Kyiv was considering pausing visa exemptions for Israelis entering Ukraine in response to what he called "unneeded" limitations Israel places on Ukrainian citizens.
    “Israel allows unlimited access to Russian and Belarus citizens, but invent an electronic visa for Ukrainian citizens," he said. “We insist that relations be two sided – if Ukrainians need an electronic visa, so will Israelis,” the ambassador said in the interview.
    He claimed many Ukrainian citizens who arrived in Israel at the onset of the war have left. Out of 38,000 Ukrainians who reached Israel since the Russian invasion, 13,000 received Israeli citizenships, and more than 14,000 left - 5,000 of them in the last month,
    Ministers were angered by the remarks, saying they believed the post broke with diplomatic rules and conduct, claiming a foreign embassy does not criticize the government of the host country.
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    זלנסקי נואם בפני האוניברסיטה העברית
    זלנסקי נואם בפני האוניברסיטה העברית
    President Vladimir Zelensky addressing the Hebrew University
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky accused Israeli government last week of refusing to place sanctions on Russia.
    “We understand the situation is hard for you, but we wish support to be greater,” Zelensky said in an address to students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
    “Poland is also threatened by Russia, but they still help and take in refugees," Zelensky said. "These are women and children who wish to escape the war, and Israeli authorities stopped granting visas to Ukrainian citizens," he said.

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