Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky had a planned trip to Israel in the works in order to express solidarity, and after he admitted that the Gaza war is taking away the "focus" from the Ukraine war. But he wanted it to be an unannounced "surprise" in anticipation of the media coverage.
Now that trip is in doubt, after news of his arrival leaked over the weekend. The visit was expected this week, but reports began emerging Saturday which prematurely made it public.
This then elicited comment from Israeli officials: "If President Zelensky comes, he will be welcomed with open arms," an official said on Sunday.
The Times of Israel on Tuesday confirmed that—
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will not be coming to Israel today, as was initially planned. News of his arrival leaked over the weekend, leading to the postponement.
Israeli diplomatic sources say that he is still expected to make the trip, but that there is no date at this stage.
A Ukrainian diplomat has been further cited as saying that Zelensky "wanted the trip to be public when he stepped on Israeli soil," and now, "He's very disappointed."
In the wake of the Hamas Oct.7 terror attack, Zelensky floated the idea of going to Israel, which at the time would have made him the first foreign head of state to fly into Tel Aviv to express support for Israel.
But the Israeli government indicated such a trip would have been premature, as it grappled with responding to the hostage situation and made military preparations for an invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Western media has also begun to sour on Zelensky, as his efforts to keep his government's demands for more and more weaponry and billions in foreign funds faulter.
JUST IN: Ukrainian President Zelensky desperately begs for more U.S. aid as attention has been diverted away from him to Israel.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) November 7, 2023
During the interview with NBC, Zelensky pleaded that the U.S. government "give us some financial support" without mentioning the billions already… pic.twitter.com/sei282iKTf
He's also more recently received bad press for once again affirming there will be no Ukrainian national elections next year:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Monday address that it is "not the right time for elections" in Ukraine as the end of his five-year term approaches.
Zelensky argued in his Monday video address that Ukraine should not have to deal with elections as it continues to attempt to fend off Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February 2022. He previously had not ruled out Ukraine holding a presidential contest next year, though elections are currently suspended in the country under martial law.
He also seemed to acknowledge increasing internal turmoil, also as he's refused to entertain any territorial concessions to Moscow for the sake of negotiating peace.
"And finally, the waves of any politically divisive things must stop," he said. "We must realize that now is the time of defense, the time of the battle that determines the fate of the state and people, not the time of manipulations, which only Russia expects from Ukraine. I believe that now is not the right time for elections."