Israel–Ukraine relations

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Israel - Ukraine relations
Map indicating locations of Israel and Ukraine



Israel–Ukraine relations are foreign relations between Israel and Ukraine. Both countries recognized each other de facto on 11 May 1949 as the Ukrainian SSR and established de jure diplomatic relations on December 26, 1991 as an independent state.[1] Israel has an embassy in Kiev. Ukraine has an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate-general in Haifa.

In July 2010 the foreign ministers of two countries sign an agreement of non visa traffic between Israel and Ukraine.[2] This came into effect on February 9, 2011 and since then Ukrainians and Israelis may enter territory, travel through it or stay on Ukraine/Israel without having to obtain visas for 90 days within a period of 180 days.[3] Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated in September 2016 that this visa-free regime had increased tourist flow between two countries tenfold.[4] In November 2014, was appointed Oleg Vyshniakov, entrepreneur and man of Ukrainian public figure, to the Israel's honorary consul in western Ukraine.[5] In May 2015 was inaugurated honorary consulate of Israel in Lviv.[6]


As Ukraine is rich with Jewish history, it plays a major part in Israeli education for young generation of Jews. In addition, Ukraine is also rich in religious history and contains the grave of Rabbi Nahman of Breslev, which is a pilgrimage site to many religious Jews. As Israel and the West Bank contain rich Christian history, Ukrainians come to Israel as religious pilgrims. This is especially true regarding Jerusalem, with its Orthodox Christian holy sites.

When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union as the Ukrainian SSR, it was one of the 33 states that voted for a Jewish state in the Mandatory Palestine during the UN Partition Plan in 1947. Later, the Soviet Union broke off relations with Israel in 1967 after the Six-Day War and restored diplomatic relations in 1991.

For Jews worldwide, Ukraine also holds many memories regarding the Holocaust, as the site of Babi Yar is in its territory. As Ukraine is a newly independent state, this serves to create a common sense of identity of Ukraine and Israel as nations who gained their independence in the 20th century. A special tourisms programs for Jews and Israelis, developed in cooperation with the Lviv Municipality and the District Administration, which includes visits to Jewish memorial sites and architecture, operated by Hebrew speaking tourist guides.[7]

In May 2015 launched a direct flight Lviv-Tel Aviv-Lviv operated by the airline "UIA", on regular flights twice a week.[8] The Israeli government claims that their failure to vote in support of Ukraine against Russian aggression was due to a public workers strike.[9]

Ukrainian Jews[edit]

Ukraine has one of the world's largest Jewish communities. At the same time, Ukrainian Jews make up a significant proportion of Israel's population.

Economic relations[edit]

In 2012, the bilateral trade turnover between the countries was 1.3 billion dollars, a growth of 49.1% in comparison to 2011. The total export of Ukraine was 922.5 million dollars (796.4 in products and 126.1 in services). The import reached the amount of 364.2 million dollars (266.8 in goods and 97.4 in services). The main exports from Ukraine to Israel in 2012 were: grain (50.6%), non-precious metal (18.2%), aircraft (6.9%), food industry byproducts (5.8%), oil seeds and oleaginous fruits (3.3%), fats and oils of animal or vegetable origin (1.5%), electrical machinery (1.2%), nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery (1.1%). The main Israeli imports to Ukraine in 2012 were: mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation (42.4%, various chemical products (9.0%), plastics (7.0%), goods purchased in ports (5.5%), pharmaceutical products (4.8%), electrical machinery (4.4%), nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery (4.1%), fruits and nuts (3.1%), optical: photographic equipment (2.2%), soap: organic surface-active substances (1.9%), synthetic or artificial (1.7%), vegetables (1.6%), essential oils (1.5%).[10]

Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze with Minister for Regional Cooperation of the State of Israel Tzachi Hanegbi

Israel Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy operates an Economic & Trade Mission in Kiev. Its main goal is the promotion of trade and export by assisting Israeli industry expanding in the Ukrainian market, supporting individual exporters in marketing activity in Ukraine, attracting investment and expansion of strategic cooperation with Ukraine, improving knowledge of the Ukrainian business of Israeli industry and economy and helping in solving problems arising for Israeli companies operating in Ukraine. The economic attaché in Ukraine is Elizabeth Solovyov.[11] Israel's honorary consul in western Ukraine, Oleg Vyshniakov, established an inter-ministerial committee for Ukrainian-Israeli trade and economic cooperation, as well as an economic business forum, which launched in November 2015 in Kiev. Leading developers in the fields of Industry and Trade in Ukraine and Israel are taking part of this program.[12]

State visits[edit]

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko paid a state visit to Israel on December 22, 2015, where he met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and addressed the Knesset.[13] Rivlin visited Ukraine in September 2016.[4]

Notable incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ From the history of the Ukrainian Embassy
  2. ^ Правительство Израиля проголосовало за отмену визового режима с Украиной КорреспонденТ.net June 20, 2010
  3. ^ Visa-free travel between Ukraine and Israel to start on Feb.9, Kyiv Post (February 8, 2010)
  4. ^ a b Introduction of visa-free regime with Israel increased tourist flow between two countries tenfold, Interfax-Ukraine (27 September 2016)
  5. ^ Appointment of Oleg Vishnikov as Honorary Consul, Website of the Israeli consulate in the Ukraine, November 2014
  6. ^ Grand opening of the Honorary Israeli Consulate, Website of the Israeli consulate in the Ukraine, May 2015
  7. ^ Developing a special tourism programs for Jews and Israelis in the Ukraine, Website of the Israeli consulate in the Ukraine, April 2015
  8. ^ Launching direct flights from Lviv to Tel Aviv and vice versa, Website of the Israeli consulate in the Ukraine, May 2015
  9. ^ Ravid, Barak; Lis, Jonathan (13 April 2014). "Defense official on Ukraine policy: Israeli policy needn't be identical to U.S.'". Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  10. ^ Trade and economic cooperation between Israel and Ukraine
  11. ^ Elizabeth Solovyov in Israel Trade Administration (hebrew)
  12. ^ Establishment of an inter-ministerial committee for Ukrainian-Israeli industrialists, Website of the Israeli consulate in the Ukraine, July 2015
  13. ^ "'Ukraine stands with the State of Israel'". Arutz Sheva. December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2015.

External links[edit]