“Ukraine will definitely not be what we wanted it to be from the beginning. It is impossible. Absolutely liberal, European – it will not be like that. We will become a ‘big Israel’ with its own face. We will not be surprised if we have representatives of the Armed Forces or the National Guard in cinemas, supermarkets, and people with weapons.” – Volodymyr Zelensky April 5th, 2022
Ukrainian president Zelensky delivered an address on Tuesday saying that Ukraine will be a highly militarized “big Israel” for the foreseeable future.
Afterwards Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk spoke to the Israeli media outlet Haaretz. He stated, “Israelis have lived surrounded by enemies for all of their history and Ukraine will be doing the same. Now we have to retain much bigger armed forces against our two neighboring states and that’s why our leadership currently sees that, no matter what happens next, [things] in Ukraine will be similar to the security situation in Israel. You will see more armed people in the streets, even when things become more peaceful than they are now.”
This is at least the second time that Zelensky has compared Ukraine to Israel. He did the same thing in an address to the Kiev Jewish forum last December.
Ukraine was already fighting a war in the Donbas region since 2014. A heavily fortified line of defense surrounded the separatist regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Meanwhile hardline militias were stationed in some cities to suppress separatist leanings.