Zelensky: Israel has ‘indisputable’ right to defend itself from terror

Ukraine’s Jewish president says world must stand united against terror as Hamas launches deadly surprise assault

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to Ukrainian media, August 27, 2023. (Video screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to Ukrainian media, August 27, 2023. (Video screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country is fending off a Russian invasion, said Saturday that Israel had an unquestionable right to defend itself from attacks from Palestinian terrorists.

The Hamas terror group launched an unprecedented assault on Israel in the morning, firing thousands of rockets, sending gunmen into Israeli communities and military bases by land, sea and air, killing at least 200 people, injuring over 1,400, and taking hostages.

“Israel’s right to defense is indisputable,” Zelensky, who is Jewish, said on Telegram.

“Terror is always a crime, not just against one country or specific victims, but against humanity as a whole,” he said.

“The world must stand united… so that terror does not attempt to take or destroy life anywhere and at any moment,” Zelensky said.

A special department has been set up to help Ukrainians who may need assistance in Israel, according to his statement.

Smoke billows from a power station in Ashkelon on October 7, 2023, as barrages of rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave into Israeli territory (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska said, “Ukrainians understand and share the pain of the Israeli people.”

Earlier, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said it “strongly condemns the ongoing terrorist attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks against the civilian population in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.”

“We express our support for Israel in its right to defend itself and its people,” the ministry said.

Israel has repeatedly expressed support for Ukraine since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February last year, but has stopped short of offering military aid, sparking diplomatic tensions between Kyiv and Jerusalem.

It has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine during the conflict and is working on developing an alert system for incoming Russian strikes. However, it has said it will not supply its missile interceptor systems, both fearing it could fall into Russian — and subsequently Iranian — hands and seeking to avoid overly antagonizing Moscow which has a heavy military presence in Syria.

A meeting between Netanyahu and Zelensky on the sidelines of the UN last month was described as positive.

The multi-pronged attack Saturday, coming a day after Israel marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise invasion on Yom Kippur, appeared to have caught the Israeli military and security forces completely by surprise.

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