Ukrainian ambassador (l.) at Institute for National Security Studies event
Ukrainian ambassador (l.) at Institute for National Security Studies eventSpokesperson

Ukraine's ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, was unable to disguise his emotion as he described the fighting in his homeland, breaking down in tears at an event held on Tuesday at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, head of the Institute, spoke with the ambassador who said that, "What we are going through now is similar to what Israel went through during the Yom Kippur War. Don't try to make sense of what is happening in Ukraine, because it is senseless. Our enemies are perpetrating barbaric attacks and committing genocide. The number of victims has climbed into the thousands upon thousands. We can't even rescue the wounded."

According to Korniychuk, "Things were similar during the Second World War too. The situation in Mariupol is similar to what happened in Aleppo in Syria. I don't know if you're aware of this, but they have brought mobile crematoria to Ukraine, to hide the number of those killed. I couldn't believe it. Sanctions are good but they will take time, and we need to stop the slaughter now. We need all kinds of aid, and from Israel, our good friend, we expect to receive defensive weapons and armor such as helmets. We need help now, not in a few weeks' time! If Russia is not stopped, those who fail to act are guilty of aiding crimes against humanity. I call on Israel to stop all trade with Russia in solidarity with us."

The ambassador noted that, "400 tons of humanitarian aid have already reached us. The Israeli government told us that it will also help with transportation. Hundreds of tons of items have already arrived from Israel. We are grateful for the medications supplied, but we also need aid for those still in Ukraine, and we need to find ways to protect people from the bombings."

Korniychuk added that he intends to speak with Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and ask her to fully open Israel's gates to all refugees.

Referring to negotiations between the two warring sides, the ambassador said, "Yesterday, our efforts to open humanitarian corridors for people to leave failed, due to a lack of Russian agreement on the issue. The sanctions are unprecedented, and I believe that they will have a very harsh impact on the Russian Federation. I hope that Iran will also be affected. But they will take time to reach their full impact, and time is one thing that we do not have. The Russians want to defeat Ukraine and we are paying a heavy price, every single day. If they want us to be neutral and not join NATO, then we will need significant security guarantees and assurances regarding our independence."

Asked how he envisioned Ukraine after the war is over, Korniychuk said, "We are living in changed times. I believe that in the coming days, Russia will use nuclear weapons, both against Ukraine and against other countries. That is the Russian Parliament's strategy. If all they understand is the language of force then we need to be prepared for that. And we also need to be prepared for the type of ceasefire that will leave us in a very different position to how things once were. And we really need to reconsider the significance of international understandings, if Russia no longer honors them."