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Zelensky, foreign leaders call Netanyahu over war, back Israel's right of self-defense

by The Kyiv Independent news desk October 8, 2023 6:25 PM 3 min read
Rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza City are intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome defence missile system in the early hours of Oct. 8, 2023. (Photo by EYAD BABA/AFP via Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky noted "the cooperation between the Israeli police and Ukrainian diplomats with regard to the safety and protection of Ukrainian citizens in Israel" after a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 8.

Two Ukrainian citizens have been killed in Israel after the extremist organization Hamas launched rocket and ground attacks from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, the Ukrainian embassy in Israel told news agency Interfax-Ukraine on Oct. 8.

Measures are being taken to organize the repatriation of the two people's bodies, the embassy told Interfax.

The embassy didn't elaborate on the circumstances of their deaths or their identity, though Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko did say that they were women. There is still no other information about Ukrainian citizens among the wounded or missing.

Netanyahu held phone conversations with Zelensky, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he wrote on Twitter on Oct. 8.

The leaders reportedly expressed "unqualified support for Israel's right to defend itself as necessary," Netanyahu wrote.

Zelensky expressed Ukraine’s solidarity with Israel on Twitter, while addressing condolences to the victims of the attacks of Palestinian armed group Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7.

Hamas launched an attack of unprecedented scale on Israel on Oct. 7, infiltrating Israeli territory on the ground and with ultralight aircraft while subjecting Israeli settlements to intense rocket bombardment.

Military vehicles are seen after Palestinian militants launched more rockets at Israeli border towns on the second day of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Oct. 8, 2023. Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images)

At the time of this publication, fighting in Israel and in Gaza was still underway.

The number of dead due to the Hamas' attack on Israeli communities near Gaza exceeded 600 people, according to the Times of Israel newspaper.

The Ministry of Health also confirms that the number of wounded in hospitals has reached 2,048, including 20 in critical condition and 330 seriously injured.

At least 100 Israeli soldiers and civilians are also being held hostage. Palestinian authorities in Gaza said that 198 were dead amid the fighting.

Politically, Israel has largely refrained from explicitly backing a side in Russia's war on Ukraine and has thus far not provided any significant military aid to Ukraine.

Israel has complex relations with Russia but has long been enemies with Iran, a shared adversary of Ukraine.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued his first public statement after the attack, saying, "Citizens of Israel, we are at war. And we will win."

Zelensky denounced Hamas' offensive, writing on Telegram, "Whoever uses terror is a criminal against the whole world. Whoever sponsors terrorism is a criminal against the whole world."

Zelensky, world leaders condemn Hamas attack on Israel
President Volodymyr Zelensky and other world leaders have condemned Hamas’ assault on Israel on Oct. 7 and expressed solidarity with Israel.
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