A previously approved by Israel’s Defense Ministry to sell drones to Ukraine was vetoed by a special panel of the Foreign Ministry amid fears of Russian disapproval, Channel 2 reported.
According to the report, Russia recently blocked arms sales to Iran and Syria, two arch-enemies of the Jewish state. Israel was concerned that selling drones to Ukraine would anger Russian officials, prompting them to sell more weapons to Syria and Iran.
A Ukrainian delegation visited Israel with the express purpose of acquiring military hardware, including drones made by the company Aeronautics, to use against pro-Russian separatists. There was no information on when the meeting occurred nor when the decision to turn down the request was passed.
Israel is in a tight spot when it comes to the Ukraine-Russia Crisis. On the one hand, Israel wishes to not upset the United States, which sides with the government in Kiev and has been pressuring Putin over the conflict in Crimea. At the same time, Israel wishes to maintain its ties with Moscow, who is an important regional player in issues such as Iranian nuclear ambitions and the Syrian civil war.
On March 5, the Foreign Minister released its first statement on the situation in Ukraine. The statement said that Israel is following events in the region “with great concern” and is “anxious for the well-being of all its citizens, and hopes that the situation will not deteriorate to the loss of life.”
The carefully worded declaration ends by stating that Israel “expects the crisis in Ukraine to be dealt with by diplomatic means and to be resolved peacefully.”