Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk walks out of a briefing given by Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, after Gantz calls the Russian invasion a “conflict” and discusses Israel’s ties with both sides.
“Mr. Gantz started to talk about the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and that they are talking with both Ukrainian and Russian friends or colleagues,” Korniychuk tells The Times of Israel.
“Listen, if on the 42nd day of the war, with the bloodshed and massacre that Russia has been doing against innocent Ukrainian people, you are still calling this a conflict, there is really nothing to talk about,” Korniychuk continues.
Gantz’s spokesperson denies that he used such language. “He spoke about dialogue with both countries and about mediation efforts,” she says.
No one from Lapid’s or Gantz’s office has reached out to him, Korniychuk says.
The two senior ministers were discussing Israel’s stance on Iran, Ukraine, terrorism and more with 80 foreign ambassadors in Herzliya.
“It’s really sad for me, because this gentleman clearly has lots of the information,” laments Korniychuk. “Israel is having a unique position from the rest of the Western world. This is the only country that behaves like that,” he continues.
Korniychuk also says that Gantz refused to meet with a high-level Ukrainian delegation that was visiting Israel in recent days. “He says he has no time to meet.”
Sergey Shefir, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky, former ambassador to Israel Hennadii Nadolenko, and Jewish parliamentarian Olga Vasilevskaya-Smaglyuk were part of the visiting delegation.