Israel president pardons detained Ukrainian seeking to fight Russia

Israel president pardons detained Ukrainian seeking to fight Russia
The Ukrainian's lawyer expressed their gratitude to President Isaac Herzog for acting on this "unusual request".

2 min read
05 April, 2022
Israel's President Isaac Herzog decided to pardon the Ukrainian [Justin Tallis-WPA Pool/Getty-file photo]

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has pardoned a Ukrainian man jailed on drug charges, allowing him to return to Europe to fight Russia.

The holidaymaker travelled to Israel in 2017 and was arrested when multiple kilograms of cocaine were found in his suitcase, Israel's Kan state media said on Monday.

The man has served six years of a seven-year term, and President Isaac Herzog said he would let him go early if he departed for Ukraine immediately.

Speaking with Kan, the Ukrainian's lawyer expressed their gratitude to the Israeli president for acting on this "unusual request".

Kan reported that the man is expected to arrive in Ukraine within days. The outlet did not reveal his identity.

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The detainee is to "return to his burning homeland and join the fighting there and help as much as possible in the face of the atrocities in Ukraine", his lawyer said.

Herzog's decision to allow the man to defend his homeland came as pro-Palestine activists highlight the similarities between Russia's occupation of Ukraine and Israel's occupation of Palestine.

Both Israel and Russia stand accused by activists and rights groups of committing grave violations of human rights.

Ukraine on Sunday accused Russia over the weekend of perpetrating  a "massacre" at Bucha, a town near the capital of Kyiv, killing hundreds of people.

The Palestinian health ministry on Monday said Israel had killed 355 Palestinians last year, in addition to wounding over 16,500.