By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
On May 16th, 2017, I met Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymr Groysman at the David Citadel hotel in Jerusalem. In a short interview but interesting discussionfor The Jerusalem Post he touched on topics relating to Israel-Ukraine relations, bilateral trade agreements, his Jewish identity and Russian-Ukraine issues. The latter deals with the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine. The Prime Minister is very passionate discussing “Russian aggression” and use of Russian weapons against Ukraine and the harm done to civilians.
In the first article we discussed trade, relations and Russia
“Ukraine Prime Minister condemns Russian aggression.” It notes “Every day the [separatists] fire at us from the temporarily Russian-occupied territories; every day we have 40 to 50 to 100 firings a day from Russian weapons, from Russian tanks, Russian artillery, and innocent people die as a result,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in an interview withThe Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Groysman, the first openly Jewish prime minister of Ukraine, is in Israel for a multiday visit that has included meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and various ministers and Knesset members. He stressed the close relations between Kiev and Israel and emphasized that the world should stand on the side of what he termed democratic Ukraine against Russian aggression.”
In the second article he discusses how he “never hid my ethnic origins” of being Jewish. He says “All my ancestors I know of from 18th century [onward] lived in Ukraine,” he said in an interview with the ‘Post’ on Tuesday. Groysman speaks with pride of Ukraine as a multi-ethnic country. “Ukrainian citizens have good will and are nice people. Ukraine is my country; it’s a great honor to be a citizen and born in Ukraine.”