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Russia-Ukraine war: Embassy in Israel removes post calling on Israelis to join fight

The post was removed not long after Ambassador Korniychuk said his staff had already 'started gathering volunteers' and was particularly interested in combat medics
A demonstrator holds up a sign showing the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin made to resemble Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler during a protest in front of the Russian embassy in the Israeli on 26 February (AFP)

The Ukraine Embassy in Israel removed a post to Facebook that had called on Israelis and other volunteers to register to join the fight against invading Russian troops.  

"All our compatriots, interested Israeli citizens and citizens of other countries now in Israel. The embassy has begun compiling a list of volunteers interested in participating in the fight against Russian aggression," the post, made on Saturday, had said. 

The embassy asked anyone in Israel who wanted "to participate in defense of Ukraine from Russian aggression" to send an email including their name, citizenship, date of birth, foreign passport number, military specialty and contact information to a gmail account under "defendUKRinISR". 

The post was taken down briefly after it was shared, however.

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Ukraine's embassy in Israel did not respond to Middle East Eye's request for comment by the time of this article's publication, but Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that the post was removed after Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk told its reporters that his staff had already "started gathering volunteers".

During his statements, Korniychuk said that he was particularly interested in combat medics.

In recent days, Ukraine opened enrollment to its armed forces to civilians of any age and has barred all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 from fleeing the country. 

Ukraine asks Israel to mediate

Earlier on Saturday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and asked Israel to mediate a ceasefire with Russia, the New York Times reported, quoting Korniychuk.

Korniychuk said that Zelensky asked Israel to host the talks. Meanwhile, Ukraine reportedly refused Moscow's proposal to hold talks in Belarus, its ally and a shared neighbour, which is facilitating Russia's invasion.

Israel has 1.2 million citizens – about 15 percent of its total population - who speak Russian. On Wednesday, Israel made its first official statement on the crisis, saying it "supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine". 

Russia responded by slamming Israel over its occupation of areas of the Golan Heights "that are an inalienable part of Syria". 

Hundreds of protesters have gathered in front of the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv to condemn its invasion of Ukraine. 

Still, Russia said on Saturday that military coordination with Israel over Syria would continue. 

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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