Ukraine’s leader has objected to Israel’s refusal to supply its Iron Dome missile defense system, saying the attack on his country has brought Moscow and Tehran closer together.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized Israel’s neutrality in the Ukraine war, saying its leaders’ decision not to back Kiev with weapons has fueled Russia’s military partnership with Iran.
At a conference organized by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Monday, Zelenskyy reiterated his call for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile technology to deter Russian strikes.
The Ukrainian army is beating the Russians on the battlefield, “but unfortunately we don’t have our own Iron Dome. We still do not have a modern and effective air defense and anti-missile defense system to protect our skies. He said in a video link.
On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksiy Reznikov, that “Israel will not provide weapons systems to Ukraine.”
Since the Russian invasion in February, Israel has offered humanitarian aid to Ukraine but refrained from supplying military equipment for fear of damaging relations with Russia.
The decision not to “provoke” Russia by helping Ukraine militarily enabled a partnership between Moscow and Tehran, Zelensky said, without specifying how.
“This alliance of theirs simply would not have happened if your politicians had made only one decision at that time,” Zelensky said. “… It seems that it was adopted a long time ago – in 2014, when Russia began its aggression against Ukraine.
The Ukrainian leader has repeatedly criticized Israel for failing to stand firm against Russia’s attack on his nation.
Russia and Iran’s nuclear program?
After exhausting its stockpile of missiles, Russia began looking for weapons from other countries, Zelensky said.
“He found them in Iran. I have a question for you: How do you think Russia is paying Iran for this? Is Iran only interested in money? Probably not money at all, but Russian aid to Iran’s nuclear program.”
He said Russia had ordered about 2,000 Shahed-136 kamikaze drones from Iran, the same type that Kiev says Moscow has used in recent attacks on Ukraine.
“Every night the ugly sound of Iranian drones is heard in our skies. According to our intelligence, Russia ordered about 2,000 Shaheds from Iran,” Zelensky said. “Iranian instructors have come to teach the Russians how to use drones [in Ukraine].
Iran has denied supplying Russia with weapons for war.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has in no way provided any side with weapons to be used in the war in Ukraine, and its policy is to oppose the arming of both sides to end the war,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.