Members of the Ukrainian army’s far-right Azov Battalion demonstrate in Kiev. (Photo credit: GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli media revealed on 28 November that a senior delegation from the Ukrainian army visited Israel last week in a bid to secure defense assistance from Tel Aviv.
“A delegation from Kiev, including a very senior member of the Ukrainian army, recently arrived in Israel for a series of meetings with [army] officials. The purpose of the visit was to promote the construction of anti-missile warning systems for the Ukrainians,”
Moriah Asraf Wolberg, the correspondent for Israel’s Channel 13 News, tweeted late on Monday.
דיווחנו הערב במהדורה:
משלחת מקייב, ובה בכיר מאוד בצבא האוקראיני, הגיעה ארצה באחרונה לסדרת פגישות עם גורמים בצה״ל. מטרת הביקור הרשמית הייתה קידום בניית מערכות התרעה נגד טילים עבור האוקראינים. בישראל ביקשו לשמור על ביקור המשלחת בדיסקרטיות בצל הרגישות המדינית מול מוסקבה >
— Moriah Asraf Wolberg (@MoriahAsraf) November 28, 2022
The Israeli reporter added that the Ukrainian officials asked Tel Aviv to keep their visit a secret in order to avoid repercussions from Moscow.
She goes on to claim that leading the delegation was the deputy chief of staff of the Ukrainian armed forces.
The Ukrainian delegation allegedly met with high-ranking officials in the Israeli army and the Israeli ministry of security to ask for help in creating a missile alert system, which Israel has allegedly promised to build for Ukraine.
Besides the anti-air system, the Ukrainians reportedly demanded more military aid from Tel Aviv, as what has been offered to them will “not suffice.”
Earlier this month, Israel allowed NATO member states to provide Ukraine with weapons that contain Israeli-made components and funded the delivery of “strategic materials” to Kiev, under pressure from the White House.
To do this, Israel transferred several million dollars to an unidentified NATO member state that is “deeply involved in supplying military equipment to Ukraine.”
The unnamed country used the Israeli funds to purchase the “strategic materials” for Ukraine, in a scheme reminiscent of Poland’s recent role as a middleman to acquire Israeli anti-drone systems for the Ukrainian military.
Since the start of the war, senior Ukrainian officials – both in public speeches as well as private conversations with Israeli officials – have asked Tel Aviv for its Iron Dome defense system. However, Israel has so far refused to provide direct military assistance so as to avoid sparking a crisis with Moscow that would threaten its illegal operations in Syria.