Israel’s foreign minister has insisted the country will not be a “route to bypass sanctions imposed on Russia”.
Centrist politician Yair Lapid made his comments in Bratislava with his Slovakian counterpart, amid growing concerns that some Russian-Jewish oligarchs could use Israel to get around harsh sanctions.
This come after the UK, US and European Union imposed heavy financial penalties on Moscow, and the Russian economy, in a bid to put pressure on its leader Vladimir Putin.
With few places oligarchs can now operate outside of Russia, some have been turning to Israel and the United Arab Emirates, with some, including Roman Abramovich, having Israeli citizenship.
The former Chelsea owner’s private jet reportedly landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on Sunday night.
Lapid said “Israel will not be a route to bypass sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western countries,” according to Times of Israel.
He said the foreign ministry is “coordinating the issue” with the country’s national bank as well as relevant ministries, such as finance, economy and energy, as well as the the Airports Authority
Despite having not formally joined the sanctions regime, he vowed to “do everything it can to assist mediation efforts, to stop the shooting and restore peace.
“We are working together with our greatest ally, the United States, and our European friends to prevent the continuation of this tragedy.”
Israel has been both criticised for not condemning Vladimir Putin harshly enough, with roughly 20 per cent of its population being Russian-speaking. It has also offered to mediate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, alongside other regional powers such as Turkey.