Israel sends ambassador to Poland, thanks Warsaw for aid in evacuations

"Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw, headed by charge d'affaires Tal Ben Ari Yaalon (pictured), has conducted fruitful co-operation with Polish authorities to help Israelis leaving Ukraine and we would like to offer thanks to the Polish authorities for this aid," the Israeli foreign ministry said. Wojciech Pacewicz/PAP

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has thanked Poland for helping evacuate Israeli nationals from war-torn Ukraine and has announced it will send its new ambassador to Poland immediately.

The Israeli move could end a period of chilled relations between the two countries which has lasted since June 2021, after the Polish parliament passed a law curbing restitution rights for property confiscated by Poland's then communist government after World War Two.

Israeli opposition newspaper Israel Hayom wrote: "The help that Poland offered Israel in evacuating civilians from Ukraine and the transfer of Israeli diplomats from Ukraine has significantly contributed to thawing relations between the two countries."

The new ambassador, Yacov Livne, will first focus on helping Israelis and Jews fleeing Ukraine.

The Israeli foreign ministry has said that minister Yair Lapid "has made the decision to facilitate aid for Israeli citizens who are crossing the Ukrainian border with Poland, and with regard to the gravity of developments and the central position of Poland in them.

"Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw, headed by charge d'affaires Tal Ben Ari Yaalon, has conducted fruitful co-operation with Polish authorities to help Israelis leaving Ukraine and we would like to offer thanks to the Polish authorities for this aid," the ministry also said.

The personnel of the Israeli embassy in Ukraine were transferred to Poland on Saturday evening but will be returning to the country to offer aid to its stranded nationals.

Russia invaded Ukraine from three directions on Thursday but the Kremlin's plans of a fast-tracked conquest and replacement of the Ukrainian government with a puppet regime loyal to Moscow has failed so far as Russian forces met with fierce Ukrainian resistance.