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A view of the building of the Foreign Ministry in Kyiv on Feb. 2, 2024. (Ruslan Kaniuka / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Israel will soon impose new travel restrictions on Ukrainians, leading Ukraine to impose similar requirements in response, Ukraine's Embassy in Israel announced on June 20.

From July 1, Ukrainians who want to enter visa-free to Israel need to first apply for an electronic travel authorization (ETA) permit.

"The latest requirement effectively ends the visa-free regime" that has been in place since 2010, the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel said.

"In response, Ukraine will impose similar pre-approval requirements for Israeli citizens."

The new rules will impact the thousands of Hasidic Jews who travel to Uman in Cherkasy Oblast, a major pilgrimage site, to mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

"Ukraine remains open to dialogue with Israel to discuss and negotiate these travel policy changes for the benefit of both nations," the embassy said, but noted that "recent Israeli actions, such as restricting Ukrainian refugees and denying entry to many Ukrainians," has strained relations.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in September 2023 that he had raised the issue of Ukrainians being refused entry to Israel during a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Zelensky highlighted the "number of refusals for Ukrainian citizens to enter Israel under the visa-free regime."

Reports emerged over the summer that around 10% of Ukrainians are denied entry to Israel, despite the visa-free regime.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniichuk said on Aug. 21 that Kyiv was considering suspending the visa-free travel regime in response.

There is a large Ukrainian community in Israel, estimated by the Foreign Ministry as being around 500,000, most of whom left Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The vast majority of them are Jews from Ukraine.

In addition, some 15,000-40,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered Israel since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. It is unclear what their status is, or how many have stayed in the country.

Zelensky: Ukraine recognizes both Israel and Palestine, seeks to end suffering of civilians
When asked by a journalist about Kyiv’s denouncement of Hamas, President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that Ukraine also offered to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and said that the two periods should “not be mixed together.”

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