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Ukraine envoy: Kyiv could recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital soon

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) and President Isaac Herzog attend a welcome ceremony ahead of their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) and President Isaac Herzog attend a welcome ceremony ahead of their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

At an event in Jerusalem marking 30 years of Israel-Ukraine ties, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk says his country could recognize the city as Israel’s “one and only capital” in the next year, and open a branch of its embassy during a visit by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Korniychuk tells The Times of Israel that he believes recognition is a matter of months, not years, but that Zelensky has certain preconditions in the security and defense relationship between the countries before that happens.

“As soon as I get permission, I will do it immediately,” says Korniychuk.

The announcement comes after Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who grew up in Ukraine, expresses during his address at the event his hope that Zelensky will open an embassy branch in Jerusalem. Elkin presented Korniychuk with a 2,700-year-old artifact bearing the word “Jerusalem” in Hebrew, and the Ukrainian envoy then takes the microphone and makes the unprepared remarks.

While this does not equal official recognition, it shows the direction ties are moving, Elkin tells The Times of Israel.

“I have worked for years to have more countries open embassy branches in Jerusalem, and I hope to see this come to fruition,” he says.

The embassy branch would deal with promoting bilateral ties in trade and technology.

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