Ukraine Crisis: What Does Israel Want From Moscow?

Published February 19th, 2022 - 07:17 GMT
US airforce over the skyline of Kiev
US Air Forces CV-22B Osprey, multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircrafts fly above Kyiv in connection with military drills "Fiction Urchin" with the participation of regiments of the Special Operations Forces of Ukraine and the Special Operations Forces of the United States on September 23, 2020. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)

Israel and Ukraine are in the middle of a political and diplomatic row that is likely to shake the ground of relations between the two countries that have been built over the past 30 years.

Why? Israel have called on Moscow to intervene in helping evacuate its nationals from the Ukraine in the event of Russia deciding to militarily roll its tanks and soldiers into the country.

This is really an odd way of putting it? Moscow intervening to evacuate Israelis, slated at 10,000 or more in a country that might be in the process of being invaded is really muddling because how does Israel want the Russians to protect its Jewish citizens? It’s like nod and a wink, saying ‘invade but make sure our Jews are not harmed.’ A war is expected to be violent and deadly on both sides, the Ukrainians and the Russian whose troops around the border with Ukrainians jumping up to 190,000 according to NATO sources.

Leaving that aside for a moment, Israel has long had good relations with Russia and Ukraine, but it is now being spoilt by this piece of interventionist news; Kiev is really upset with what Israel has been doing behind the scenes specifically in asking the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow for help and make sure its nationals get a safe passage.

In turn, the Ukraine Foreign Ministry has summoned the Israeli Ambassador in Kiev Michael Brodsky to register its protest in the strongest terms at the repartee between the Jewish state and Russia, an odd relations in the light of the diverging interests between the two countries and with Moscow's interest in Syria and different parts of the Middle East.

Ukraine is upset with the leaked communications between the Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Alon Ushipz and Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov which would definitely signal better relations with Israel and if it works, Tel Aviv will be indebted to Moscow and its presence in such places as Syria.

But the questions that begs itself surely is can the Russians help the Israelis if they are in the middle of a military intervention in Ukraine if indeed that is what's going to happen despite the strenuous denials by Moscow. And even if it did happen can they tell their soldiers "stop here a minute while we get the Israeli nationals and the diplomatic staff out of the country".

Isn't this a bit farcical and fanciful on the part of Israeli officials? Mind you Russia could well pay lip service to what the Israelis want, regardless if that indeed does happen or not. 

That's one issue. Another, is the fact Israel has already evacuated around 3000 of its nationals out of the country just like many other states including Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the United States, Germany, France and Italy. Why would they need a special dispensation, least of all from the Russians to get the rest of their nationals out unless of course their is political expediency. Report dispatches since suggested many of the Israelis who are still in the Ukraine are there because they want to stay, military intervention or not! There is certainly still a lame, lethargic attitude about a full-scale war. 

And this whole affair is turning out to be a diplomatic embarrassment for Israel with its attempt to play a balancing act between Ukraine and Russia and clearly leaning towards the latter. But it is not giving up that easily and evidently doesn’t mind treading on different toes regardless of whom it may upset. And hence, its different actions may speak louder than diplomatic niceties which it can always mend in various ways.

It said it had already moved its embassy to Laviv, a western city in Ukraine and continues to trump up strategies of seeking to move its nationals through this part of the country to Europe if they need arise and thus the war mongering heats up.

Israeli officials say this is why they are talking to the Russians in a bid create a corridor to different countries like Poland, Hungry and Slovakia. Everybody waits for the next steps amidst the conflicting news about the escalations which both the Russians and even Ukrainians are seeking to play down.

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