Israel is expected to send Ukraine protective gear that includes helmets and bulletproof vests for medical teams and first responders.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz promised the new assistance – intended for rescue and emergency organizations – to his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov.
“This is part of Israel's extensive effort to provide humanitarian aid, which includes the establishment of a field hospital, the absorption of refugees and immigrants, the provision of food and medical assistance, and more,” read a statement released by the Israeli minister’s office.
Following their conversation, the Ukrainian defense minister tweeted: "Had a phone conversation with the Minister of Defence of #Israel Benny Gantz @gantzbe. We discussed existential threats to Ukraine & the right to self-defense. Among other things, the importance of humanitarian aid from Israel’s side has been discussed. Thank you for the support!"
Why it matters: Since the first days of the war Ukraine asked Israel for protective gear. Israel refused again and again fearing backlash from Russia. Now this policy has changed— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) April 20, 2022
During the call, the two ministers also discussed Israel’s mediation role in the conflict, led by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Ukraine has been urging Israel to provide military equipment since the invasion by Russia began. Bennett’s government has refused such requests time and again, given the sensitivity of its relationship with Russia and President Putin.
Israel has been coordinating its military operations in Syria with Russia in recent years and has commitments to Jews in Russia and everywhere else in the world.
So far, the Jewish state has focused its efforts to provide Ukraine with humanitarian aid and medical assistance. Jerusalem sent over 100 tons of medical equipment and humanitarian supplies, has set up a field hospital in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine and donated armored ambulances.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced that the U.S. is prepping another $800-million military assistance package for Ukraine. When asked by reporters if the U.S. will send more artillery to the war-torn country, President Joe Biden replied positively. Details of the latest package are still being privately discussed, according to CNN.
In recent days, Russian forces have made a push into the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Several attempts to advance on the city were repelled, according to Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CNN in an interview over the weekend that he is not willing to give up territories in the East in order to end the war. He also emphasized that Russia is still threatening the capital Kyiv with long-range weaponry.
Heavy bombardment continues to take place around the south-eastern port city of Mariupol, where officials have reached an agreement with Russia on Wednesday to establish a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.