Kharkov, August 16, Interfax - Russia has moved up to the top of a trio of countries leading as a source of repatriates to Israel, Israeli Minister of the environment, Jerusalem affairs and heritage Ze'ev Elkin said.
"Over the past five years three countries - France, Ukraine and Russia - are leading as a source of repatriation, they are in the top three, interchanging between them (...) But in the past year Russia has been in the first place. (...) The United States is fourth," Elkin said in an interview with Interfax.
As for Ukraine, since the events in February-March 2014 and the start of war in Donbass, the influx of Ukrainian repatriates increased but has now diminished slightly, he said.
"At first the flow increased, now it has decreased a little bit. Whereas before these events began, France had been the leading a source of repatriation to Israel, after the Maidan revolution and the beginning of war, Ukraine came in first as a source of repatriation," Elkin said.
The relations between Ukraine and Russia are no affecting those between their natives living in Israel, the minister said.
"It is clear that Israeli citizens who arrived from Ukraine or from Russia hold different views on Crimea or on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which by the way do not always correlate with where the person comes from. But I am not seeing any animosity between the community of Ukrainian natives and that of Russian ones," Elkin said.