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Russia-Ukraine crisis: Kyiv diplomat warns Israel will be 'directly affected' by escalation 

Ukraine Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova says Israel's grain supply will be hit if Russia decides to invade 
Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid pictured with Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova in Jerusalem on 13 Febraury 2022 (Twitter/@yairlapid)

Israel will be directly affected by a potential Russian attack on Ukraine, Kyiv's Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova warned on Sunday.

Dzhaparova said during an interview that Tel Aviv's grain supply will take a major blow if a conflict flares up, according to Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post

"In case of an escalation, the State of Israel will be directly affected," Dzhaparova said after meeting with Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem.

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"Cut your bread supply in half to understand how Israel will be affected," she said.  

In the meeting on Sunday, Lapid expressed his concern over ongoing tensions and hoped for an immediate de-escalation. 

Dzhaparova's visit to Jerusalem comes amid western fears of a looming invasion of Ukraine after Russia deployed more than 100,000 troops near the border. 

Moscow has refuted claims it plans to launch an attack and accused western nations of spreading lies and hysteria.

Dozens of countries have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine, including Israel. 

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called on the 10,000-15,000 Israeli citizens in the country to "come home" while they still can, according to the Times of Israel. 

Public broadcaster Kann said hardly any citizens are leaving, despite Israeli airlines offering additional flights to help with the evacuations.

Evacuating Ukrainian Jews

In addition to evacuating Israelis, the government has been urged to "prepare for the immediate immigration and absorption of Jewish Ukrainians". 

Israel is "here to help Jews wherever they are, if their lives are at risk or if they are in trouble," the country's Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai said on Sunday, according to newspaper Hareetz

Last month, the Israeli government held initial discussions about the possibility of evacuating Jewish communities from the Ukraine.

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An estimated 75,000 Ukrainian Jews live in Kharkiv, close to the border with Russia, Odessa, on the Black Sea, and Dnipropetrovsk.

Israel's Law of Return grants any Jew the right to emigrate to Israel, settle and become a citizen.  

Jewish Ukrainians will be able to benefit from this law, Haaretz reported.

In 2014, Israel evacuated hundreds of Jews from Donbas, a region southeast of Ukraine, which Russian separatists currently control.

Also, in 2008, during the war between Russia and Georgia, Israel evacuated dozens of Jews from the town of Gori.

In the last years of the Soviet Union and its subsequent collapse, almost one million Jews emigrated to Israel between 1989 and 2000, mainly from Russia. 

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