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Ukraine to start evacuating citizens from Israel

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 11, 2023 7:32 PM 3 min read
A 'shelter' sign is displayed near an entrance to the arrivals terminal at Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, Israel, on Oct. 9, 2023. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
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Ukraine is to start evacuating its citizens from Israel, Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk said on national television on Oct. 11.

The ambassador said that around 1,000 people have applied for help from the embassy following the Oct. 7 attack on the country by Palestinian armed group Hamas.

In response, the Israeli military launched an offensive against Gaza and declared a blockade of the Palestinian enclave.

Ukraine's embassy is currently providing assistance to the "most vulnerable categories" of people, such as those who are undergoing medical treatment, families with children, and tourists whose flights were canceled, Korniychuk said.

The embassy has arranged a flight for 200 people to Romania on Saturday from Ben Gurion Airport, Israel's main international airport. Another flight is planned for Sunday, Korniychuk said.

Almost 15,000 Ukrainians are registered at the embassy in Israel, according to Korniychuk.

However, there is a large Ukrainian community in Israel, estimated to be around 500,000, many of whom arrived in Israel after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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Earlier on Oct. 11, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said that the number of Ukrainians killed in Hamas' attack on Israel has risen to three.

Nine more Ukrainian citizens have been injured in the hostilities; their condition and place of hospitalization are being clarified, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Separate work is being carried out to evacuate Ukrainians in Gaza, according to the embassy, as there are another 1,000 citizens on Ukraine's consular register who live in Palestinian territories.

Of this number, around 300 Ukrainians live in the Gaza Strip, and the embassy has compiled a list of 160 people who have requested evacuation, though "the number is constantly growing," Korniychuk said.

The embassy hopes to evacuate them to Egypt and through to a third country by the end of the week.

However, this is complicated by the fact that the Egyptian government does not allow anyone who enters as a refugee from Gaza to stay on their territory for more than 48 hours, the ambassador explained.

"This is a complex problem that we are working with in cooperation with our embassy in Egypt, the coordination headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the President's Office," he added.

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