Despite US request, Israel refrains from co-sponsoring UN resolution on Ukraine

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Despite a request from the Biden administration to back a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Israel refrained from doing so, two diplomats familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel.

Eighty-one countries signed on to the resolution as co-sponsors, though the effort was ultimately vetoed by Russia.

Israel is one of the few countries that maintains relatively warm relations with both Ukraine, a fellow Western democracy, as well as Russia, which controls the airspace over Syria.

Jerusalem has relied on Moscow’s tacit approval for use of that airspace to carry out airstrikes against Iranian proxies just beyond its northern border.

While Israel has expressed concern regarding the invasion and offered humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has avoided condemning Russia or even mentioning the country by name in his statements since the launching of the widespread military operation across Russia’s border.

Security Council members, from left, Britain’s Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward; US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield; Albania’s UN Ambassador Ferit; Hoxha; and Brazil’s Ambassador to the UN Ronaldo Costa Filho, vote in the the United Nations Security Council, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

But Israel’s effort to avoid aligning too closely with either side since the start of the invasion has led to Kyiv expressing disappointment, while Russia summoned Jerusalem’s envoy in Moscow to demand a clarification of the country’s stance.

The Israeli mission to the UN declined a request to comment.

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