Volodymyr Groysman, the first Jewish Prime Minister of Ukraine, is in Israel for a multi day visit that includes meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and various ministers and Knesset members.
It’s worth noticing that this visit holds high importance for both countries. After Ukraine supported UN Resolution 2334, which condemned Israel’s settlement policies in the West Bank, relations between the two countries appeared strained. Indeed, Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, canceled Groysman’s planned visit in December 2016. But as appears friendly relations of two countries are back.
PM of Israel Netanyahu noted that Ukraine reaffirmed its friendship for Israel in the important vote in UNESCO, which, he thinks sets the relations of two countries on a future course.
“I know your own personal involvement in this decision, and it’s doubly appreciated. And I know your stance and the stance of the government against anti-Semitism, and that’s triply appreciated. So for all of these reasons, I welcome you warmly in Jerusalem. I look forward to our discussions.” – Told PM Netanyahu to Volodymyr Gorysman.
Among the issues discussed was bilateral economic cooperation as well as cooperation in the fields of trade, technology, information and culture.
“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 increased trade turnover between our countries,” – declared Groysman.
During the meeting with his counterpart, Groysman emphasized on the close relations between Kiev and Israel and highlighted the pressure of Russian aggression on Ukraine.
In the wake of the passage of the Security Council measure, Ukraine defended its vote in favor of Resolution 2234 by hinting at its own conflict with Russia as a driving force behind the decision.
Without explicitly mentioning Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and a civil war in the country’s east with Russian-backed separatists, the Prime Minister effectively draw a parallel between Israeli, Ukraine and Russian policies:
“Israel has experience, like Ukraine, of having its territory under shelling and suffering pain and tragedy”, he said.
Israel has warm relations with Russia, which have deepened in recent years as the two seek to reach an understanding about the Syrian conflict. “We don’t interfere in relations with other countries; we respect sovereignty of other states,” said Groysman.
“I don’t want to say anything toward the Russian people, but I speak about the Russian government. I think this position is clear and close to Israel,” Groysman stated.
Groysman also expressed his optimism noting that Israel will never support an aggressor and terrorist, “so you should be careful in relations with third countries, especially when these countries are inclined toward aggression.” – He said.