Ukraine Delivers Official Request to Israel for Air Defense Systems
The Ukrainian government sent Israel an official request for air defense systems to help it fight back against Iranian missiles and drones used against it by Russia, Axios first reported on Wednesday. Axios published the letter, dated Tuesday, sent from Ukraine’s embassy in Tel Aviv to Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The letter notes that Russia “has switched to new methods of its armed aggression against Ukraine, including launching air attacks on large Ukrainian cities and other civil settlements” carried out by Iranian drones and missiles, and requests from Israel “defense systems, in particular: Iron Beam, Barak-8, Patriot, Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow Interceptor and Israeli support in training for Ukrainian operators.” Iron Beam is not yet operational and the Patriot air defense system is made in the United States.
The letter points out that “positive experience gained by Iran of using of the above-mentioned weapons in Ukraine will lead to further improvement of Iranian systems, which will also significantly contribute in strengthening Iran’s potential of producing offensive weapons and, as a result, will increase security threats for the State of Israel and the Middle East region.”
On Wednesday night, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz told ambassadors from the countries of the European Union that Israel would not provide weapons to Ukraine “I would like to emphasize that Israel will not deliver weapon systems to Ukraine due to a variety of operational considerations. We will continue to support Ukraine within our limitations, as we have done in the past,” Gantz said. “We have sent a request to the Ukrainians to share information about their needs for air defense alerts. Once we gain this information, we will be able to assist in the development of a life-saving civilian early-warning system.”
Gantz is expected to speak on Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart. Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid also was scheduled to speak to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday.
Israel remains concerned about sending weapons and military equipment to Ukraine out of fear of angering Russia, which is actively engaged in Syria on Israel’s northern border.