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Israel announces Ukraine embassy move from Kiev to Lviv

Israel announces Ukraine embassy move from Kiev to Lviv
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks to the Foreign Press Association in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem in September 2021. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The Israel Foreign Ministry on Monday announced it would move its embassy from Kiev to Lviv amid the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

The ministry said in a statement that the decision came after an assessment of the situation in Ukraine and discussions with officials from other nations.

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"Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has decided to instruct staff at the Israeli Embassy in Kiev to move to consular offices opened in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine," the statement reads.

Israel's consular office in Lviv has been working since Thursday to provide travel documents to its citizens and will help those who are interested leave the country, primarily through land border crossings to neighboring countries.

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The ministry said Israeli diplomats had met with officials in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova and Hungary to ensure that citizens of Israel will be able to cross out of Ukraine's borders.

"The Foreign Ministry is prepared for any development, including the possibility of a land exit," the statement reads.

Around 4,000 Israelis left Ukraine as of Monday, according to the Jerusalem Post. There were an estimated 12,000 Israelis in Ukraine before their departure.

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Lapid told the Jerusalem Post that he has to be "more careful than any other foreign minister in the world" because both Russia and Ukraine have large Jewish populations.

He said he hoped that mediation efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron would prove successful in avoiding an invasion.

The decision by Israel comes one week after the United States temporarily moved its embassy to Lviv and just days after Britain also moved its embassy to Lviv.

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Earlier this month, Canada said it would temporarily move its embassy to Lviv, Politico reported. Germany said it would keep the embassy open in Kyiv and move its consulate desk to Lviv, while the Netherlands said most of its personnel would leave the country.

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