Israel approves export of anti-drone systems to Ukraine: Report
Western security officials have previously called Iran’s burgeoning drone program a 'bigger immediate threat' than their nuclear energy program
By News Desk - March 16 2023

Netanyahu and Zelensky
(Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO)

Israel approved the export license for its anti-drone jamming systems to Ukraine, according to a report published by Axios on 15 March, citing three Israeli and Ukrainian officials.

This marks a turning point in Israel’s stance toward the war in Ukraine, as the country has been careful not to provide military equipment to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion more than a year ago.

The move, which could potentially shake up Israel’s relationship with Russia, is specifically targeting Iran’s Shahed-136 suicide drones used by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials have long pushed for Israeli arms sales to Ukraine and argued that it would be in Israel’s best interest “because Iran is able to gain information about how the drones perform and then make improvements,” Axios reports.

Iran has so far denied claims that it delivered its suicide drones to Russia during the ongoing military operation.

The export licenses of the anti-drone jamming system were approved by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in the middle of Israel’s evaluation of its approach to the war, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered in February, according to Israeli and Ukrainian officials. Israeli officials say that the review is now complete, but no new decisions have been taken by the administration.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited the Ukrainian capital Kiev on 16 February and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, reportedly pledging that Tel Aviv would deliver an early-warning system within three to six months.

Days later, on 23 February, Israel joined 140 other UN member states voting in favor of a nonbinding resolution that calls for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and withdraw its forces.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine more than a year ago, Israel has tried to stay on Moscow’s good side due to their military cooperation in Syria. However, in recent months Kiev and Washington have turned up the pressure on Tel Aviv to align with its western sponsors.

Western security officials have previously called Iran’s burgeoning drone program a “bigger immediate threat” than their nuclear energy program.

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