President Volodymyr Zelensky is understood to be preparing for a visit to Israel in a gesture of solidarity. The planned trip comes amidst the ongoing escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Axios media outlet reported citing sources within Ukrainian and Israeli government circles.
Sources familiar with the matter have indicated that Zelensky's office has formally requested to coordinate his visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The negotiations, they stress, are still in the preliminary stages, and no specific date for the visit has been confirmed.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken set off for Israel on Oct. 11. The same day, prior to commencing meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels, President Zelensky urged the West to rally around the Israeli people as it had for Ukraine in response to Russia’s invasion last year, and to show them they are not “alone”.
“I remember the first days of the full-scale war. It started with terrorist attacks from Belarus, then the Russian army advanced. It was a profound tragedy for us, with countless lives lost. Being alone during such times can be devastating. Solidarity can make a real difference, preserving nations, lives, and, above all, human dignity,” Zelensky said.
“Thus, I strongly recommend leaders to visit Israel and stand by the people who have suffered from terrorist attacks and who are enduring immense hardships,” the President added.
The recent surge in hostilities began on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants launched a barrage of around 3,000 rockets into Israel and broke into the border territories, killing and taking hostages among local residents and military personnel. In response, the Israel Defense Forces initiated widespread strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Based on the latest information, the violence has resulted in over 1,200 casualties among Israeli residents, with the Palestinian side reporting more than 1,100 fatalities from Israeli airstrikes.
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