Ukraine’s intelligence services are  working in “close cooperation” with their Israeli counterparts, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s said Thursday according to the Haaretz daily.

“I have very big respect for the leaders of your intelligence services,” Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s office, told Israeli reporters. “I know many of them personally. These are very big professionals and patriots of Israel and patriots of the whole free world. So I do know that our intelligence is satisfied with this cooperation, but of course there is always more that can be done,” he said.


He added that Israel’s intelligence community was “one of the best of the world.”

Yermak praised Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s efforts to mediate between Ukraine and Russia,

He added that he considered Jerusalem “as one of the priority venues for the meeting of President Zelensky with the president of the Russian Federation.”

“It is high time now for that meeting of the presidents to take place. The war has been going on for too long,” he said.

He expressed his hope that Israel would become a guarantor of any security guarantees for Ukraine in a future peace accord.

Yermak dismissed reports that Bennett had pressurized Zelensky into accepting Russia’s demands for territorial compromise.

“There hasn’t been any pressure,” he said.

He added Russian demands have softened, although fundamental differences remain, and Ukraine is now cautiously optimistic.

While territorial concessions are off the table, the question of Donbas and Crimea can be discussed, he said.

He did, however, criticize Israel for not doing more in terms of helping the Ukraine with weapons and spyware.

“We have given clear expectations we need Iron Dome system and other types of weapons,” he said. Israeli defense experts have maintained that Israel’s missile defense system would be useless in the type of conflict that Ukraine is facing, however.

He slammed Israeli criticism of Zelensky’s speech to the Knesset earlier this week in which he compared the Russian invasion with the Holocaust as “100% fake news and lies.”

“Zelensky has never compared [this to] the Holocaust of the Second World War, when millions of Jews were exterminated and I’d like to remind you that our President is a Jew and I have Jewish blood as well,” Yermak said. “There is no need to tell us, we understand the tragedy of the Jewish people. He never made that comparison. He was saying the Russians’ behavior on our territory, destroying our cities and killing civilians, is very similar to what the Nazis were doing.”

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