Israel Says Won’t Recognize Referendum Over Russian-Occupied Ukrainian Territory

By Hamodia Staff

Members of an electoral commission empty a ballot box at a polling station following a referendum on the joining of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) to Russia, in Donetsk, Ukraine Tuesday. (REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

YERUSHALAYIM – Israel recognizes Ukraine’s sovereignty over its entire territory and will not recognize the results of referenda carried out in parts of the country’s east occupied by Russian forces, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

“Israel recognizes Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will not recognize the results of the referenda in its eastern territories,” the ministry’s statement read.

The communiqué constitutes an unprecedented show of support for Ukraine on the side of Yerushalayim which opted so far to stay neutral regarding the conflict in Eastern Europe, owing in large part to its ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the delicate security coordination with Moscow in Syria.

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was “in shock” at Israel’s failure to give Kyiv anti-missile systems to help counter Russian attacks.

“We can see Russian influence on Israel, which didn’t provide us any arms. Nothing at all,” Zelensky said in an interview with French reporters.

“I understand they need to defend their country but I received information from our intelligence saying Israel is exporting its defense systems to other countries.

I don’t understand why they can’t help us with air defense. I talked with both Israeli prime ministers [Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid] asking them to provide us with tools. I’m surprised they can sell their systems but can’t give us any. How can that be? They know we’re at war and that Ukraine has a large Jewish population, and that Israel has a large Ukrainian population. I don’t know what happened to Israel. I’m honestly, frankly – I am in shock, because I don’t understand why they couldn’t give us air defenses.”

Meanwhile, Israel is set to treat 20 Ukrainian soldiers seriously wounded in the conflict with Russian forces, according to Israeli envoy to Ukraine Michael Brodsky.

Two of the wounded soldiers have already arrived in Israel and are receiving treatment at Sheba Medical Center where they will be rehabilitated and fitted with prosthetics.

Meanwhile, Russian media has released interim results of the referenda in the occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and the pro-Russian breakaway republics of Luhansk and Donetsk — indicating that a whopping 96% of voters have opted to join the Russian Federation.

Western powers have dismissed the vote as a sham and said they would not recognize the results.
The Russian parliament, the Duma, is expected to move forward with annexation of territories within the week. Putin is expected to announce the move during a speech he will give in parliament on Friday.

Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of the upper house of the Russian parliament, said that the legislature may approve the annexation on October 4. Putin also said on Tuesday that the referenda were done in order to prevent the prosecution of ethnic Russians in Ukraine by Kyiv.

“Saving the people in the regions where the referenda were held stands as our top priority,” Putin said.
According to Russian media, support for Russian annexation in Kherson reached 96.97% after counting 14% of the votes. Zaporizhzhia stood at 98.18% support after counting 18% of the votes, Donetsk stood at 98% support after counting 14% of the votes and Luhansk stood at 98% support after counting 13% of the votes.

Russia annexed Crimea Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 after 97% of the region’s population voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation in a referendum whose results are not recognized by the West.

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