By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address Israel’s parliament about the Russian invasion of his country and has asked to deliver remarks by video to its main Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, officials said on Thursday.
The plans suggested efforts by Kyiv to win over Israel,
after its government has taken a cautious public posture as it tries to mediate peace and coordinates with Russia on Syria.
Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy said he and Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk agreed Zelenskiy would brief the assembly’s 120 members by Zoom “in the coming days”.
Zelenskiy has sought to drum up support with video briefings of foreign audiences that have included the U.S. Congress and the British parliament. Israel’s Knesset said earlier this week its impending recess may complicate hosting such an event.
Levy “reiterated his solidarity with the Ukrainian people at this difficult hour and wished it strength,” the statement said.
Separately, Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre said it had received a request from Zelenskiy to address its chairman and experts. The chairman and Korniychuk will discuss the idea on Sunday, it said.
The Ukrainian embassy had no immediate comment.
Both sides in the conflict have invoked the Holocaust.
Russia has said it aims to “denazify” Ukraine, a claim rejected as nonsense by Kyiv and Western countries. Zelenskiy, who is Jewish, said Russian shelling close to Babyn Yar, a Holocaust memorial in Kyiv, on March 3 suggested “history repeating (itself)”.
Israel has condemned the Russian invasion and sent Ukraine humanitarian aid – but resisted Kyiv’s call for weapons as well.
Bennett has been circumspect in his public remarks, possibly in a bid to keep a door open at the Kremlin as he tries to broker an end to the crisis at Ukraine’s behest.
Earlier on Thursday, Yad Vashem said it had suspended a strategic partnership with Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch who also holds Israeli citizenship, who has faced sanctions abroad since the Ukraine invasion.
Yad Vashem announced last month that Abramovich’s pledged funding would strengthen its endeavours in the areas of Holocaust research and remembrance.
Britain also on Thursday froze the assets of Abramovich, who is the owner of Chelsea soccer club.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Gareth Jones, Alexandra Hudson)