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Israel to treat 20 wounded Ukrainian soldiers

The soldiers are set to be treated with prosthetics and rehabilitation at Israel's largest hospital
People gather in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv to mark Ukraine's Independence Day and the six-month anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on 24 August (AFP/File photo)

Israel is to treat 20 wounded Ukrainian soldiers, the Israeli ambassador to Kyiv announced Sunday, a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticised Israel for refusing to provide anti-missile systems to help counter Russian attacks. 

"Israel will receive for treatment 20 Ukrainian servicemen who were seriously wounded during the war," envoy Michael Brodsky wrote on Twitter.

The first two patients will arrive on Sunday for treatment at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, he added.

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A medical source confirmed to AFP that two soldiers were en route to Israel, while a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian embassy in Tel Aviv said she expected the first patients to arrive "soon".

They will be treated with prosthetics and rehabilitation.

Sheba Medical Center, Israel's largest hospital, ran a field hospital in western Ukraine for six weeks following the Russian invasion on 24 February.

Israel has declined to supply weaponry to Ukrainian forces, opting instead to send protective gear, such as helmets, as it attempts to maintain relations with Moscow.

Russia is a key backer of Syria, where Israeli forces regularly carry out air strikes against pro-Iranian elements.

Israelis also have close ties to the former Soviet Union, where a tenth of the population has roots.

Russians accounted for nearly half of Jewish immigrants to Israel over the past year, according to the immigration ministry, while a quarter hailed from Ukraine.                

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