Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Mission possible for Israel’s relocated Ukraine embassy

Since decamping from Kyiv to Lviv in late February, and then onwards to its current home in a Soviet-style Polish border town hotel, Israel’s Embassy to Ukraine has faced challenges both related and unrelated to the war. Despite doubling as a regional base for Polish police forces, the hotel – its name is being withheld at the Israeli embassy’s request – is eerily unlit and quiet. That is, until you open the door to the embassy’s situation room. Exhaustion is apparent on every face, but the energy is palpable. Here, an overworked staff buzzes with purpose, coordinating consular services, humanitarian aid, and outreach back to Kyiv. Nearly three weeks into the war, the flow of Israelis out of Ukraine is slowing, but challenges continue to mount. The acting head of the Israeli mission to Ukraine, Simona Halperin, was diagnosed with COVID-19 minutes before The Times of Israel arrived at the hotel on Monday. Halperin, who leads the Foreign Ministry’s Eurasia bureau from Jerusalem, is in the role because Michael Brodsky, Israel’s envoy to Kyiv, was in a car accident and had to be repatriated to Israel. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/mission-possible-for-israels-relocated-ukraine-embassy-despite-car-crash-covid/) Operationally, the mission’s continued ability to help Israelis obtain the documents they need to leave Ukraine rests upon the goodwill of the Ukrainian authorities.

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