Israel-Gaza War, Ukraine

On Gaza War, Ukraine Walks a Fine Line Between Support for Israel and Non-Western Countries

While Ukraine has generally taken a pro-Israel line since the war started, concerns are emerging about its relations with the EU and non-western countries.

Supportive of Israel but in need of allies that tilt pro-Palestinian. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been generally supportive of Israel since the October 7 war began, condemning Hamas for the massacre and avoiding condemnation of Israeli air strikes. But some are concerned Ukraine is not doing enough to cultivate allies in the Middle East and non-western countries whose sympathies are more with the Palestinians.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been generally supportive of Israel since the October 7 war began, condemning Hamas for the massacre and comparing them to Russia in their barbarism, even abstaining in a UN General Assembly vote in favor of a humanitarian truce in Gaza due to the resolution's failure to condemn Hamas' actions against civilians.

However, an analysis by Dinara Khalilova at the Kyiv Independent suggests this support is fraught with tension given Ukraine's own need to cultivate allies around the world in its struggle against Russia.

On the pro-Israel side of the ledger is the long, shared history of Jews and Ukrainians and the sense that they are both fighting barbaric forces that ignore the rules of civilization. Ukrainian public opinion polls show significant support for Israel in the current war in Gaza.

On the other hand, Ukrainians are frustrated at Israel's cautious approach towards Russia and its refusal to send arms to Ukraine. Israel, meanwhile, finds Ukraine's general support for most anti-Israel resolutions in the UN equally frustrating. Meanwhile, Israel's Russia policy, based on immediate security concerns in the region, may possibly be changing with Putin taking a harder, more pro-Hamas line.

However, while it's true that Ukraine does seek to gain as many allies as possible, Khalilova herself concedes that it's unlikely Middle Eastern or non-western countries will punish Ukraine for its current stance on the war given the possible prestige of serving as mediator or other functions.

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