Ukrainian Refugees Detained in Israel, Held at Airport, Ambassador Says

Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk. (Photo: Video grab, i24News)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk expressed “disappointment” at news that “Ukrainian refuge-seekers were being detained upon arrival in Israel,” the Israeli newspaper, The Times of Israel reported.

“We were disappointed yesterday with a decision of the interior minister (Ayelet Shaked) that explained that (Israel) will not allow Ukrainian refugees to come to Israel,” Korniychuk said at a Tel Aviv press conference in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli newspaper also reported that the ambassador “expressed dismay that Israel continues to refuse to provide much-needed helmets and military vests for military and civil protection.”

“He also brought up Ukrainians who assisted Jews during the Holocaust, saying Israel should now be helping his countrymen too.”

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have reportedly fled the fighting in recent days. Some of them tried to reach Israel to stay with other family members. Instead, they found themselves “being detained at Ben Gurion Airport,” according the Times of Israel, citing Korniychuk and a lawyer representing the refugees.

“According to the attorney, the Ukrainian shelter-seekers are currently held in a section of the airport before passport control, such that Israel considers them to not yet have formally entered the country.”

“This is the decision of the State of Israel and we could not intervene with it,” said Korniychuk. “But we are asking for your humanity to understand our people’s needs. They are not choosing where to stay and some of them are coming… because of their having relatives here or friends that are willing to take care of them. We are not talking about illegal workers.”

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