Espreso. Global

Ambassador confirms Kyiv might suspend visa-free travel with Israel

14 August, 2023 Monday
20:08

Ukraine is considering suspending visa-free travel with Israel for two reasons. The first is the challenges of guaranteeing the safety of pilgrims going to Uman

Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk shared the information in an interview with Radio Liberty.

According to him, about 20,000 pilgrims are planning to arrive in Ukraine this year to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

"We say that we cannot protect them from missiles and drones. We, regrettably, do not have enough (air defense means - ed.) to ensure the security of our cities. The embassy insists that if you (Israel - ed.) for some reason do not want to allocate air defense equipment, sell it to protect Ukrainian civilians, perhaps you would want to protect your own," the diplomat said.

He emphasized that ensuring pilgrims’ security distracts a huge number of civil servants from issues related to wartime challenges.

"We are not talking about canceling (the visa-free regime - ed.). The issue of suspension was considered. That is, no one was going to cancel the intergovernmental agreement," Korniychuk said.

The second factor prompting authorities to contemplate the suspension of the visa-free arrangement is the rise in instances where Ukrainians are being denied entry to Israel.

According to the ambassador, any individual arriving in Israel with a Ukrainian passport undergoes a process where their passport is taken, and they are compelled to wait for an interview in a separate room, lasting a minimum of 5-10 hours. Subsequently, approximately 10% of Ukrainian citizens encounter a situation where they are denied entry and deported without any clarification. The diplomat highlighted that the previous year's statistics for entry refusals ranged from 2-4%, but this year, it has escalated to 10%.

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