Kyiv is considering canceling the visa-free regime with Israel and will request the country be excluded from Ramstein meetings due to its “unfriendly actions towards Ukraine and pro-Russian position on the international arena,” Kyiv Post has been told.

“The Israeli authorities never provided any real help,” a source in Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) told Kyiv Post.

“Instead, the information received during the meetings is used by Israel in its own interests.”

The Ramstein meetings – also known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group – are gatherings involving an alliance of 54 countries, including all 30 NATO members and 24 additional countries.

Through monthly meetings at Ramstein or virtually, the group’s job is to coordinate ongoing donations of military aid to Ukraine.

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The RNBO source added that Ukraine believes there is a “real danger” that information discussed with Israel at the Ramstein meetings “will probably fall into the possession of the aggressor state.”

The decision to cancel the visa-free regime with Israel comes amid an ongoing diplomatic tussle between the two countries over how they treat each other’s citizens while in the other's country.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Yevhen Korniychuk, has claimed around 10 percent of Ukrainian tourists are being deported from Israel without explanation and has recently criticized the ending of health insurance benefits for Ukrainian refugees.

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The RNBO source told Kyiv Post, that Israel is trying to obtain security guarantees for the tens of thousands of Jewish pilgrims who make the annual journey to the Ukrainian town of Uman in September where the tomb of Tzadik Nachman is located.

During constant missile attacks, it is impossible to provide these guarantees,” the source said.

They added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is currently preparing a submission about the visa-free regime to the Cabinet of Ministers and will be considered “in the coming weeks.”

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When approached by Kyiv Post, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine did not confirm this information.

A placard reading "We pray for peace in Ukraine" is seen as Hasidic Jewish pilgrims pray at the tomb of Rabbi Nachman last year. PHOTO: Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP 

Every year in September the population of the town of Uman in Cherkasy region (190 km south of Kyiv), quadruples as tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews pour in to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Uman is the burial place of one of the founding fathers of Hasidism, Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, who died in the town in 1810.

In line with his wishes, he was buried in the local Jewish cemetery next to the graves of the victims of the Haidamak massacre of 1768.

Before Russia’s full-scale invasion, dozens of charter flights from Israel and the U.S. landed in Kyiv, those aboard then traveling on to Uman using hundreds of chartered buses and cars accompanied by Israeli police for a celebration that can last more than a month.

In 2022, despite the war and the Israeli police saying Uman did not meet their security requirements, 20,000 pilgrims still made the journey into Ukraine by train and bus.

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The Israeli Embassy in Kyiv has been contacted for comment.

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Comments (36)

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Celso Peña
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Ukraine is at war, the whole world knows this, how can Ukraine guarantee the security of thousands of pilgrims, when it is impossible to guarantee the security of the citizens of this country.

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Francis
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This whole issue of Ukraine blaming Israel for not providing adequate military support is incomprehensible in that, Israeli is also fighting to defend it walls. So Israel can't bring more than enough when they know for sure Ukraine can't defeat Russia. I think leadership of Ukraine must blame itself for this historical mistake leading to the slaughtering of it citizens and mass destruction of properties. I think Ukraine have allowed itself to be used by NATO as a battleground to test their weapons and tactics against Moscow. Ukraine can stop this war today if they want.

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Francis
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I was trying to reply John on a comment he made about Africans but the recaptcha is not loading John, I think it's bad to say Africans have been bribed by Russia and china without reasonable facts. Anyway, let me ask you this, isn't it good to be bribed with infrastructural development and military support from China and Russia than to receive $16m from Americans just to promote LGBTQ agenda in Africa.????

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Tea
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in 2008 during the war in Georgia israel gave drone codes to russia, and Georgia couldn't use them. so mind each fact from Georgia, you will win 15-30 years at least.

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Dmytro
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Israel should bomb and obliterate Russian bases in Syria, not "work" with them. Enough of being scared of evil fascist empires

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John
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Just move that tomb to Israel. Solved.

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Irina
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Ykrofashisti should stop war and talk for peace deal. Enough ukraine blood.

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Nataly
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These are unfounded speculation, tarnishing a country that is assisting you. Perhaps not exactly as you like, but assisting. You are well aware that these are speculations; otherwise, it would be said by one of your high-ranking officials, not an anonymous source.

1. Due to the betrayal of high-ranking ZSU officers, parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions were lost to Russia in a few first days. You are paying a heavy price in blood, and your allies are dedicating significant resources, including Israel, where a war has been ongoing for over 70 years. Yet, you continuously blame those who are aiding you.

2. Recently, Zelensky dismissed ALL conscription officers because of over 100 corruption and has promised even more extensive purges.

Perhaps you should first address the issues within your military and officials who are betraying your homeland?

Over the 30 years of Ukraine's independence, it has consistently voted against us in the UN. Only from 2019 to 2022, Ukraine voted against Israel 149 times. Nevertheless Israel joined the Ramstein coalition in the first month, despite Russian forces & Wagner at our border in Syria. Israel established the first military hospital. Poland provided you with MIGs. You know they contain Israeli avionics? How many Israelis do you have in your foreign legion? According to early Al Jazeera, which have never portrayed us positively, Israel is in the top 10.

Perhaps it's best to address 1 & 2, and not baselessly slander Israel?

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Dmytro (once proud Lviv resident, now proud Haifa resident)
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As a proud Ukrainian who resides in Israel for the last ~15 years, Ukraine diplomacy puzzles me. Its such a relic from soviet times...

Israel was the first one to send actual civilian help (field hospitals; tax refunds and monetary support to Israeli firms which employ Ukrainian workers and/or keep Ukrainian subsidiaries working/open (about 80K Ukrainian are working for Israelis companies), etc.), yet Ukraine kept publicly (and very loudly) demanding combat specific stuff that Israel cannot send either do to budgetary constrains or since it will hurt Israel in its campaign in Lebanon/Syria (where Russia is a big player). All along, Ukraine kept hurting Israel in the global diplomatic arena by continuing its soviet era UN stand (see https://www.timesofisrael.com/ukraines-backing-of-90-of-un-anti-israel-votes-could-hurt-support-israeli-envoy/).

I fail to understand how this weird soviet era diplomacy helps Ukraine. I believe Ukraine could easily gain whatever they want from Israel, if they just kept it quiet and managed these ties correctly. Instead of managing this ties correctly - Ukraine is doing everything in its power to ruin it.

As a Ukrainian (and an Israeli citizen) that just makes me sad.

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Barruntaranchos
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Seeing that one post I wrote against Israel´s policy in Ukraine has been erased, I see Ukraine Post doesn´t allow any comment against Israel. I take note.

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Ilya from Israel
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Two things can be said about this:

1. One must be complete idiots to assume that Israel would risk like that its relationship with its only ally - the USA, without which our country cannot ensure its security.

2. We know that the leadership of Ukraine are far from idiots. We know and understand why, for example, when it comes to Hungary, which regularly and openly undermines pro-Ukrainian initiatives in the EU, Ukraine remains silent. There is no mention of excluding Hungary from Ramstein. Accordingly, this is a baseless accusation - another attempt at blackmail to extract something more from us.

P.S. There will be no useful consequences from this - you can't achieve anything good with slander and blackmail. Ukraine will not exclude Israel, and Israel will neither give more nor less than it can. The only consequence will be the incitement of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments in the world. Bravo!

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Maple leaf
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In the middle of a war you want to divert resources for this right now? Totally bad idea than bring your own stinger missiles we know you got them.

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Oslo
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Dare I say like a Muslim country.

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Oslo
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The state of Israel I would like to separate the two the state and the Jewish people there are Jewish people who do not support what the state does. But with the new government it's getting hard to separate the two which is dangerous for any democratic country. To criticize is to be labeled anti Semitic. The state and the peoples religious beliefs should always be separate but there sadly no.

Oslo
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@Oslo, dare I say they are becoming more like a Muslim nation

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Zippitydooda
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I may be viewed as anti-Semitic for this comment. September 22, 1979 apparently Israel and South Africa conducted a illegal above ground test of a nuclear weapon in the vincinity of Marion Island, South Africa that had been witnessed by a U.S. Vela Spy Satellite. If Israel is willing to demonstrate to F.W. Deklerk that Israel has missiles systems that have the capacity to launch nuclear weapons in violation of International law forbidding unannounced abouve ground nuclear testing of nuclear weapons the Jews should not be trusted with information that can be used to make deals with the Russian Federation.

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radii
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israel is always for israel first, 13 families run the place and criminal elements helped found and have run the place ever since ... they have hero squares named after the worst spy the U.S. ever exposed (Jonathon Pollard) which shows their utter contempt even for their biggest benefactor

Pierre
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@radii,

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Pierre
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@radii, this is typical conspiracy theory, tainted with barely hidden antisemitism.

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Jim
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Russia has a long and ongoing record of antisemitism. Russia invented the pogrom. Russia was allied with Germany in WW2 until Germany betrayed Russia. Russia supports Israel's enemies.

The Bible is clear that Russia will attack Israel. It is far less costly, in lives and money, for Israel to send weapons to Ukraine to fight Russians on Ukrainian soil than to wait until Russia rebuilds and attacks Israel.

While Russia is preoccupied with their immoral invasion of Ukraine, Israel should remove Russian military bases in Syria. Peace through strength.

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Maple leaf
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You even criticize Israel your gonna get hammered for it .

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David
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Perhaps Israel should be invited to supply, install and operate its own anti missile defences around Uman where the tomb of Tzadik Nachman is located.

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