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An El Al plane is loaded up with humanitarian aid for Ukraine

Ukrainian FM Apologizes for Claiming El Al Accepts ‘Blood-Soaked’ Russian Money

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday, March 8, apologized for accusing Israel’s national airline of bypassing international sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine by accepting funds via a Russian payment system.

In a tweet Monday, Kuleba charged that El Al was continuing to accept payments from Mir, sharing a screenshot of a booking page showing the Russian electronic transfer’s logo along with Visa and Mastercard.

“While the world sanctions Russia for its barbaric atrocities in Ukraine, some prefer to make money soaked in Ukrainian blood,” he alleged. “Immoral and a blow to Ukrainian-Israeli relations.”

El Al disputed the accusation, saying it had stopped accepting Mir on February 28, four days after Russia launched its military offensive in Ukraine. The airline lamented that Kuleba had not checked before posting his “misleading tweet” and noted that its planes have brought humanitarian aid to Ukraine and also ferried refugees to Israel.

“Indeed, the ‘Mir’ payment button remained on the website, but the use of it was blocked,” Kuleba acknowledged Tuesday morning, though the system’s logo did not appear on the El Al website during attempts to book flights from the United States, Israel, and Russia on Monday.

“I am grateful to El Al for its important humanitarian operations and convey my apologies,” he added in a Twitter post.

El Al has faced criticism for being one of few Western airlines still operating flights to Russia. It said Monday that it was doing so at the request of Israel’s government and “will continue to get Israelis and Jews out of Russia so long as it is possible.” (TOI / VFI News)