Despite a desperate plea from Ukraine for the delivery of advanced air defense systems to counter Russia’s deployment of Iranian kamikaze drones, Israel has turned down Kyiv, citing “limitations” and “a variety of operational considerations,” instead offering to help Ukrainians develop airborne systems help attack warnings for civilians.
“Our policy towards Ukraine will not change,” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Wednesday. “We will continue to support and stand by the West. We will not supply weapon systems. We asked Ukrainians to share information about their needs and offered to help develop a life-saving early warning system.”
The Israeli defense minister’s statement comes after Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday that Ukraine will ask Israel for air defense systems.
This is not the first time Ukraine has asked Israel for its weapons systems. At the end of September, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was “shocked” by Israel’s “lack of arms deliveries” to Ukraine.
“I don’t know what happened to Israel. I’ll be honest – I’m shocked because I don’t understand why they couldn’t give us air defense,” Zelensky reportedly told French media.
In early March, a month after the invasion began, President Zelenskyy compared Russian aggression to the Holocaust and called on Israel to end efforts to maintain neutrality.
According to a report in Axios, in its latest official request to Israel on Tuesday, Kyiv asked for the delivery of air defense systems that would allow Ukraine to repel all Iranian ballistic missiles and Iranian attack drones deployed by Russia on its cities.
The letter, addressed to the Israeli Foreign Ministry by the Ukrainian Embassy, said Russia was using Iranian-origin drones such as the Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 to target major Ukrainian cities and civilians. It also referred to reports that Iran was preparing a shipment of Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles for Russia.
Amid tensions between Iran and Israel, the letter suggests that Russia’s use of Iranian-made weapons will help Tehran gain “positive experience” that will allow them to further improve “offensive weapons” systems, which in turn will increase the “security threats”. and risks for Israel and the Middle East.
The letter said Ukraine was “very interested” in procuring Israel’s air defense systems, specifically the Iron Beam, Barak-8, Patriot, Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow Interceptor, along with operator training.
Israel, which has publicly condemned Russia’s invasion, continues to side with Western support for Ukraine. In addition to sharing information, Jerusalem has also provided Kyiv with humanitarian assistance, including helmets and bulletproof vests for medical teams.
Considering its strategic security interests in Syria, where Russia has influence, Israel has refrained from providing advanced weapons and defensive weapon systems, despite pleas from Ukraine.
“We have our own interests, and we have to share our northern airspace with Russia,” Gantz later said, speaking before the Institute for National Security Studies on Wednesday.
“On the one hand, we are with the Ukrainians and we provide as much support that is not offensive as possible. We asked them to provide us with data to help them build a real-time alert system. They still haven’t done so,” he said.
Israel’s offer to set up an airstrike alert signals a softening of the policy of non-military intervention in the Russia-Ukraine war. As Jerusalem tracks Iran’s involvement in the war, it also intends to maintain its strategic ties with Moscow.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/israel-rejects-ukraines-request-air-defense-system-face-russias-iranian-made-drones-missiles-1839727?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution Israel rejects Ukraine’s request for an air defense system to fend off Russia’s Iran-made drones and missiles