Israel Rules Out Sending Arms To Ukraine Amid Moscow Pressure
On Wednesday the Israeli government ruled out sending weapons to Ukraine following dire warnings from Moscow against doing so.
“Our policy vis-a-vis Ukraine will not change – we will continue to support and stand with the West, we will not provide weapon systems,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a fresh statement. He said Israel will only continue sending “humanitarian aid” and “life-saving defensive equipment” – in reference to things like medical gear.
Ukraine has been ramping up the pressure on close US-ally Israel to join others in sending military aid, something which Israel has been consistently reluctant to do.
“If Israel’s policy is really to consistently counter Iran’s destructive actions, then it is time for Israel to openly side with Ukraine,” Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said Tuesday, in reference to Russia allegedly using Iran-provided suicide drones in attacks during the last week on Ukrainian cities.
Some Israeli politicians have lately expressed openness to sending Kiev weapons as they watch with growing alarm Iranian weapons systems introduced to the Ukrainian battlefield. The US and EU too are said to be preparing new sanctions on Tehran.
Axios is meanwhile reporting that a diplomatic letter it has seen reveals that Kiev formally requested for the first time this week that Israel transfer its Iron Dome defense system:
“According to available information … there is a high probability of prompt deliveries to the Russian Federation of Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from Iran,” said the letter sent by the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
In this context and in order to protect its civilians, Ukraine wants to initiate cooperation with Israel on air and missile defense, the letter added.
“Ukraine is highly interested in obtaining from Israel (in shortest possible terms) defence systems, in particular: Iron Beam, Barak-8, Patriot, Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow Interceptor and Israeli support in training for Ukrainian operators,” the letter said.
It was widely reported Tuesday that in addition to recent drone deliveries, Tehran intends to send surface-to-surface missiles to Russia’s military as its munitions face increasing depletion on the Ukraine battlefield.
The #US imposed over 3600 sanctions on #Iran. Therefore, more sanctions are expected to change nothing in the strategic relationship between Iran and #Asia, where #Tehran turned its back to the west. The JCPOA nuclear deal can hibernate. Iran can live without it.
— Elijah J. Magnier 🇪🇺 (@ejmalrai) October 17, 2022
But the Kremlin has warned in response to the mounting pressure from Ukraine’s foreign ministry that Israel could destroy all ties with Russia if it moves forward with arms. Top Russian national security council official and ex-president Dmitry Medvedev warned, “It seems Israel will supply weapons to the Kyiv regime. A very reckless move. It will destroy all diplomatic relations between our countries,” in a Telegram statement.
From Israel’s perspective, its leaders are not going to jeopardize ongoing ‘counter-Iran’ operations in Israel’s own backyard, namely Syria-Lebanon, where it has to keep a delicate strategic balance with Russia, which maintains bases at regular aerial patrols at the invitation of the Assad government.
Wed, 10/19/2022 – 17:25