A long line of cars edging towards Ukraine's border with Poland on Friday
A long line of cars edging towards Ukraine's border with Poland on Friday
Photo: EPA
Mor Vaknin, stranded in Kyiv

Israelis stranded in Ukraine search for ways out amid Russian attack

Despite please from Israeli government, many still decided to stay in the country; one man says he remained in to run his high tech company after his employees left, another, who holds a Ukraine passport worries he will not be allowed out of the country

Nina Fox |
Published: 02.25.22, 16:44
Mor Vaknin is one of the approximately 8,000 Israelis who remained in Ukraine despite calls from the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to leave the country ahead of the Russian invasion.
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  • "I tried to leave by car, then decided to get on a bus but missed it by minutes," he said. "Now I am going to stock up on food to last for a few weeks."
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    Mor Vaknin, stranded in Kyiv
    Mor Vaknin, stranded in Kyiv
    Mor Vaknin, stranded in Kyiv
    (Photo: Courtesy )
    As many Israelis joined the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians attempting to reach the borders to escape the fighting, Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky said there was a 10-hour line from the Western city of Lviv to the Polish border.
    "We are helping with documents and explanations, but the biggest problem is that we cannot help those in the major cities, who want to leave."
    Vaknin said store shelves were being emptied, but the Ukrainian military is standing strong.
    "I passed a few anti-aircraft positions when I was trying to leave, and I could see their resolve. It is clear, the Russians want to replace the pro-American government with one that they want," he said. "It is like we would not allow the Iranians to take over Syrian towns along our borders."
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    A long line of cars edging towards Ukraine's border with Poland on Friday
    A long line of cars edging towards Ukraine's border with Poland on Friday
    A long line of cars edging towards Ukraine's border with Poland on Friday
    (Photo: EPA)
    "We must be prepared for every scenario," he said. "I have a shelter in my building and some of my neighbors are in it already. There is also the Metro with access to the rest of the city. It was built for a nuclear war," Vaknin said.
    Gal Moscowitz who has lived in Kyiv for the past few years is still trying to find a way out of Ukraine.
    "We got up early yesterday to the sound of sirens and explosions and by 6am we were on the road," he said. "But we were not the only ones and we stood in traffic with about one million other cars. We were trying to reach the Polish border and had to drive through country roads," he said.
    "Finally, at 9pm we reached a village 130 kilometers (80 miles) west of Kyiv and stayed the night. Now we are heading to the border with Moldova, we are in touch with the Israeli embassy and hope that by the end of the day we will cross over the border. From there we plan to get to Romania, hopefully on safer roads," he said.
    Gal said that despite the possibility of war, he did not consider leaving.
    "We have a hi-tech company in Ukraine and couldn't just desert, so we stayed and allowed our employees to go where ever they wanted.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    Gal Moscowitz (left) and his business partner on their way to the Ukraine border with Moldova on Friday
    Gal Moscowitz (left) and his business partner on their way to the Ukraine border with Moldova on Friday
    Gal Moscowitz (left) and his business partner on their way to the Ukraine border with Moldova on Friday
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    "The panic yesterday was great and now we are a bit calmer. We purchased for to last a few days. We believe in Ukraine and think it has potential. I hope things go back to normal, soon," he said.
    Natalia Danshin arrived in Ukraine a fortnight ago to help her ailing mother. She planned to return to Israel but is now stranded and is very concerned.
    "I did not think war would break out," she said. "I thought these were just political games that would not go too far. I was scheduled to fly back in a couple of days, but I cannot leave my mother alone. On the other hand, I have children at home who are scared for me," she said.
    "I went out today to stock up on food. The shelves are almost empty in stores and there are few people out on the streets. The lines at the ATMs are very long, though and people fear the rockets. We have shelters in our neighborhood, but my mother is elderly and unwell and cannot get to safety," she said.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    Natalia Denshin
    Natalia Denshin
    Natalia Denshin
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    Dima Dayenga flew to Ukraine to escort his wife home. After their flight on Thursday was cancelled the couple spent the night in a shelter and are now stranded.
    "I looked everywhere for a ride out of here and was willing to pay a lot but could not find seats," he said. "Calls to the embassy go unanswered, the lines must be overloaded.
    Dima has a Ukrainian passport and may not be allowed to leave, anyway.
    "The president said today that men between the ages of 18 and 60 will not be allowed to leave the country. I am a graduate student in computer science and my semester begins on Sunday," he said as he expressed the hope that by some chance, he and his wife will be able to reach the Polish border.








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