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Russian Aircraft Signalled With Ukraine Flag At Tel Aviv Airport

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Russian Aircraft Signalled With Ukraine Flag At Tel Aviv Airport

Russian aircraft touching down at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel were welcomed by a show of solidarity with Ukraine as airport staff signalled them down with a Ukrainian flag.

In what the Jerusalem Post described as 'an act of trolling', an airport worker was filmed waving the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine at a Russian plane that had apparently just landed.

While many countries have closed their airspace to Russian planes, Israel has not, but that didn't stop this staff member from making it clear where their sympathies lay in the wake of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, which has left thousands dead and over a million people forced to flee the country.

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However, the Times of Israel reports that the Ben-Gurion airport employee has since been suspended from their job for the gesture.

The situation between Russia and Israel is a tense one as the Israeli government is having to balance backing for the Ukrainians in their fight against the Russian invaders with not upsetting Putin too much, The Guardian reports.

Too much overt support for Ukraine from Israel could reportedly see the country face indirect reprisals via Syria, an ally of the Putin regime since Russian intervention in Syria's civil war helped prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked Israel whether they could play a mediating role in negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow, with Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett later making the offer of mediation to Putin in a phone call on Wednesday (2 March).

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Israel has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including medical equipment and winter weather tents. It is estimated that around 200,000 Ukrainians with Jewish ancestry would be eligible for Israeli citizenship and Tel Aviv is expecting between 10,000 and 15,000 people to enter the country within the next few weeks.

There are increasingly fewer countries where Russian planes are welcome as the US, UK, Canada and members of the European Union have banned Russian aircraft from their airspace, Russia in return has banned flights from several countries.

Huge amounts of flights to and from Russia have been cancelled, BBC News reports, forcing travellers to find alternative routes or reconsider whether a journey is worth it.

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Other plane journeys that used to pass through Russian airspace will now take longer as pilots must alter their routes.

Featured Image Credit: @ItayBlumental/Twitter

Topics: Ukraine, Russia, Vladimir Putin

Joe Harker
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