Israel has asked Russia to help evacuate Israeli citizens from Ukraine in the event that Russia invades the country, Axios reported on Thursday morning.

According to the report, a conversation was held between Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

“Ushpiz stressed the commitment and concern of the Israeli government to the safety and security of its citizens and diplomats in Ukraine,” Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lior Haiat told Axios.

Russia has been stepping up troops on the Ukrainian border in recent days and has amassed close to 100,000, according to media reports. Russia said earlier in the week that it was withdrawing its soldiers, but senior U.S. officials told the media that those claims were false.

“This is a military that … continues to grow stronger, continues to grow more ready. They’re exercising, so we believe that he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] has a lot of capabilities and options available to him should he want to use military force,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told MSNBC on Monday.

Axios said that “the message shows just how seriously the Israeli government is taking the threat of an all-out Russian invasion. While 3,000 Israeli citizens have evacuated since Sunday, the Israeli government believes around 10,000 remain in Ukraine.”


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