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In Melitopol, Russians kidnapped three citizens of Israel, however Israel still wants to stay on friendly terms with Russia

The journalists were taken away by armed men in camouflage, however released a few hours later.

Earlier in the morning today in Melitopol the Russian military kidnapped several representatives of a local media holding. They were all later released. Three Israeli citizens were among the abductees: Tetiana Kumok and her parents, Vira and Mykhailo.

Tatiana Kumok with her father Mykhailo
Tatiana Kumok with her father Mykhailo

Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, noted that Israel continues a delicate balancing act and does not want to ruin existing relationships with Russia. 

"Israeli government suspended visa-free travel with Ukraine and has avoided sanctions on Russia or direct criticism of the Kremlin. Israel's attempts to reconcile Ukrainians with the Russians sound more like persuading the Ukrainian side to surrender", - she said.

Iryna Vereshchuk noted that the Israeli political elite may be following their own geopolitical and economic agenda. However, they have underestimated Ukrainians, including the Ukrainian Jewish community, who will never get on their knees.

"Somehow I always believed that the Israelis are not the ones to whom many extra explanations would have to be given about the nature of the war, shelling, humanitarian aid, shortages of water and medicine in besieged cities, cases of kidnapping civilians. So if Israel understands all this, why are they still indirectly supporting the Russians?", - she asked.

Zelensky appealed to Israel for weapons and asked for sanctions against Russia

According to Vereshchuk, we should be crystal clear: the Ukrainian Jewish community and other Ukrainian citizens are deeply disappointed with Israel's position regarding the war Russia launched in Ukraine. She is convinced that the Israeli people are on the side of Ukraine though.

"Israel is trying to delicately balance relations with both Russia and Ukraine, but will need to decide which side they take pretty soon", - Iryna said.

The Head of the National Union of Journalists said that Russians have finally released Mykhailo Kumko family after detentions and preventive talks.

"Publisher Mykhailo Kumko and members of his family (wife Vira Kumok and daughter Tetiana Kumok), editor-in-chief Yevhenia Boryan, journalists Yulia Olkhovska and Lyubov Chaika were detained today by armed men in Melitopol. Now everyone is free", - he wrote on Facebook.

"Yesterday, Tetiana Kumok, aired during the national telemarathon as a Melitopol activist. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine condemns the increasing level of intimidation and violence by Russian forces that journalists, media actors and other individuals face in Melitopol, Berdyansk and Kherson" - he said.

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