Ukraine officially asks Israel for Iron Dome, other defense systems

2022-11-01 14:28:34 By : Ms. Violet Li

The Israeli Iron Dome defense system is seen in southern Israel on Aug. 7. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

The Ukrainian government sent Israel on Tuesday an official request for air defense systems that will allow it to counter any Iranian ballistic missiles and Iranian attack drones used by Russia in Ukraine, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The letter says Russia has switched to a new method of attacks against Ukraine, including using Iranian-made drones against cities and civilian infrastructure.

The letter stressed that the Ukrainian request is based on the consideration that "positive experience gained by Iran of using ... weapons in Ukraine will lead to further improvement of Iranian systems."

The big picture: Israel has given Ukraine humanitarian aid and helmets and bulletproof vests for medical teams, but it has so far refrained from providing advanced weaponry and defensive weapon systems to Ukraine, fearing a clash with Russia that could harm Israel’s security interests in Syria.

What they're saying: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a meeting with EU ambassadors on Wednesday that Israel supports Ukraine via humanitarian aid and the delivery of life-saving defensive equipment, but emphasized that Israel will not deliver weapon systems to Ukraine due to a variety of operational considerations.

State of play: The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Iran is expected to expand its support for Russia’s war and provide the Russians with precision-guided, short- and medium-range missiles in addition to the Shahed-136 "kamikaze" drones and the Mohajer-6 attack drones it has already provided Moscow.

What to watch: Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid is expected to speak to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday.

Go deeper: Ukraine asks Israel to share intel on Iranian support to Russian military

This story has been updated with additional information about Gantz's expected call with his Ukrainian counterpart.