President Zelensky’s top aide has tried Tel Aviv’s “carrot and stick” approach
Mikhail Podoliak, the top aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has urged Tel Aviv to openly side with Kiev after Israel’s new foreign minister announced he would do so. “talk less” about the conflict and had a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
“You can talk less, but the main thing is to choose the right side”, Podolak told Israeli outlet i24 on Thursday, insisting that Russia “started the war on its own initiative and without provocation.”
“We need to talk a lot about this kind of war, because it’s a genocidal war,” Podolak also said, seemingly contradicting his own argument.
Zelensky’s outspoken adviser responded to comments by Eli Cohen, Israel’s new foreign minister, who said on Tuesday the Jewish state intended to continue “significant humanitarian aid” but to Ukraine “talk less” publicly about the “Russia-Ukraine issue.”
Kiev’s ambassador to Tel Aviv, Evgeny Korniychuk, was quick to complain about the perceived change in Israeli policy, pointing out that Cohen took a call from Lavrov when his predecessor had refused to do so.
“Israel is unique in terms of our partners. It remains silent’ he told local media, asking for a direct condemnation of alleged Russian actions.
Podoliak took a different approach from the ambassador and complemented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a potential intermediary in any peace talks between Ukraine and Russia.
“I have no doubt that Netanyahu can be an effective mediator as he understands exactly what modern wars are and the essence of mediation under these circumstances.” Zelensky’s adviser told i24.
“Israel, in a constant state of war between various entities, has the basic principles to protect its territory, its rights and its freedom. Therefore, it would be desirable to focus on providing aid to Ukraine. he added.
He argued that too “it is not desirable” for Israel “to have relations with Russia with its current regime”, both from a historical point of view “and the position of the development of the country in the future.”
Ukraine has spent months trying to pressure Israel to send it weapons, especially the Iron Dome air defense system. In October, Korniychuk enlisted US help, but to no avail. The previous administration said that Israel simply does not have the industrial capacity to do so.