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Foreign Ministry issues fresh call for Israelis in Ukraine to leave immediately

‘An eruption [of war] will be quick and severe,’ ministry says, amid growing Western warnings that Russia may soon launch invasion; Israeli embassy in Kyiv kept open for now

A Ukrainian soldier looks at a hole from a shell fired by pro-Russian separatists in the village of Novoluhanske, Luhansk region, Ukraine, on February 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)
A Ukrainian soldier looks at a hole from a shell fired by pro-Russian separatists in the village of Novoluhanske, Luhansk region, Ukraine, on February 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

The Foreign Ministry on Saturday issued a fresh call for Israelis in Ukraine to immediately leave the country, amid growing Western warnings of a looming Russian invasion.

The ministry made the appeal after holding a situational assessment and following talks that director-general Alon Ushpiz held with unspecified figures at the Munich Security Conference.

A Foreign Ministry statement also cited “the events in eastern Ukraine,” apparently referring to intensifying clashes there between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.

“An eruption [of war] will be quick and severe,” the statement said.

The ministry said it decided to keep Israeli Ambassador Michael Brodsky in Kyiv to assist Israelis seeking to leave. He and embassy staff will open the consular section on Sunday “to provide travel documents to citizens that require this,” according to the statement.

The Foreign Ministry also said it was keeping tabs on the decisions by the US and Britain to move their embassies in Kyiv to the city of Lviv, “with the aim of safeguarding the lives of the State of Israel’s envoys in Ukraine while providing a response to Israeli citizens.”

The Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for Ukraine last weekend and urged Israelis in the country to immediately leave, a call repeated throughout the week by Israeli officials. These pleas have been met with a mixed response.

In an interview with The Times of Israel on Tuesday at his Kyiv office, Brodsky said Israelis should immediately leave Ukraine and not count on rescue flights to extract them if war breaks out.

Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky. (The Israeli Embassy in Ukraine)

The Foreign Ministry’s latest appeal came as Germany and France urged their citizens to leave Ukraine, as deadly clashes broke out between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists and Moscow test-fired nuclear-capable missiles in a defiant show of force.

Both German airline Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines said they would stop flights to Kyiv and Odessa from Monday until the end of February, but would maintain flights to western Ukraine.

AFP contributed to this report.

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