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In possible policy reversal, Netanyahu considers providing defensive military equipment for Ukraine

Russian Security Council chair warns that Russian-Israeli ties would suffer if Israel provides weapons to Ukraine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during their meeting in Jerusalem, Jan. 24, 2020. (Photo: Oded Balilty/Pool via REUTERS)

Ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz this week, he talked with Israeli officials about possibly reviewing the Israel's policies on Ukraine, specifically about whether to provide the war-torn country with defensive military equipment. 

Netanyahu discussed the issue with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, Mossad Chief David Barnea, IDF Chief-of-Staff Herzi Halevi and other top officials. No final decisions were made.

Israel, thus far, has refused to provide military aid to Ukraine, despite the nation's repeated appeals. Ukraine continues to pressure Israel to supply anti-drone and anti-missile systems, including its David’s Sling weapon system.

Israel has reportedly found itself unable to accommodate Ukraine’s requests for fear of angering Russia, whose military sits on Israel’s northern border in Syria. Israel wants to continue maintaining good ties with Russia, as both air forces operate in Syrian air space and Israel needs unhindered passage in order to attack Iranian military targets in the country. 

Israel’s concerns about damaging relations with Russia is not unwarranted. In October, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a close ally of current Russian President Vladimir Putin, warned that Russian-Israeli ties would suffer if Israel were to provide weapons to Ukraine.

“Israel appears to be getting ready to supply weapons to the Kyiv regime,” said Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy chair of the Russian Security Council. “A very reckless move. It would destroy all bilateral relations between our countries.” 

Instead, Israel has provided Ukraine with mostly financial and humanitarian aid, including a field hospital. In addition, earlier this year, Israel's foreign minister announced $200 million in loan guarantees to the Ukrainian government. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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