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Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, confirmed during a press conference in Kiev on 26 October that his country has begun intelligence cooperation with Israel.
During the conference, which was held between the Ukrainian president and his counterpart from Guinea-Bissau, Omar Sissoko Ambalo, Zelensky said: “Intelligence services between the two sides have begun cooperation,” adding that he expects to see “progress in this exchange after a long hiatus.”
“There is a positive trend in relations between Kiev and Tel Aviv, after the two sides shared intelligence information, specifically related to Iranian drones used by Russia in the war it is waging against Ukraine,” Zelensky went on to say.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, Israel has been attempting to find a balance between supporting the eastern European country and maintaining amicable ties with Moscow.
This attempt to find a balance has seen Israel provide Ukraine with non-lethal aid, but refuse to provide it with its Iron Dome missile defense system and Pegasus spyware.
Nonetheless, the relationship between Israel and Russia has been strained as a result. Media reports have suggested that an Israeli defense firm secretly sold weapons to Kiev through a Polish intermediary.
On 20 October, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid held a phone conversation with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to discuss the potential provision of air defense assistance by Tel Aviv for Kiev.
The phone call took place just days after Kiev made its most recent demand for Tel Aviv to provide it with air defense systems to intercept ‘kamikaze’ drones and ballistic missiles.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev warned Israel on 17 October of the repercussions of supplying Ukraine with weapons, saying that any support of Ukrainian forces would be a “reckless move” that would seriously harm bilateral relations.
Despite repeated warnings from Moscow, including threats of “retaliatory measures”, Israel has continued to involve itself in the conflict, with reports suggesting that Israeli military personnel have been sent to Ukraine.
Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on 25 March that reserve members of the Israeli military, who hail from the elite commandos unit known as the General Staff Company, have been training Ukrainian volunteers to fight against Russia.