The war in Ukraine is straining relations between Russia and Israel, and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that Israel’s recent offer of military aid to Ukraine would seriously damage relations with Moscow.
The warning comes amid continued Western pressure for Tel Aviv to provide an air defense system to Kiev, and Israeli ministers have asked the state for military aid after allegations that Iran has supplied Moscow with surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.
Medvedev’s threat comes as Europe and the United States pressure Israel to engage in military aid to Ukraine, at least in the form of a defense system. Israel has so far refused to provide such assistance because it does not want to undermine its strategic relationship with Moscow.
Medvedev’s warning came in response to remarks by Israeli Diaspora Minister Nahman Shay, who called for military aid to Ukraine.
After reports emerged that Iran was preparing to supply Russia with surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and was now equipped with drones. According to Minister Shai, it is time for Israel to provide military aid to Ukraine, like the United States and NATO. According to the report, Israel is already providing Ukraine with key information about Iranian drones used in Moscow. Israel is concerned that Russia will cross a red line when it comes to arming Ukraine. But the biggest dilemma facing Israel is the difficulty of strategic discussions on the conduct of the war during the heated election campaign, especially as Russia’s recent bombing of Ukraine by Iranian drones has raised concerns in Tel Aviv.
Such a bombardment will not significantly improve Moscow’s performance on Ukraine’s various fronts, but it will improve intelligence-gathering capabilities and, above all, help determine the direction of Ukrainian artillery, anti-aircraft artillery and large army vehicles.
A Dilemma for Israel
A dilemma arises for Israel, especially if the war continues in Ukraine after Iran intervenes militarily and supplies Russia with its own drones and ballistic missiles. That prompted military officials in Tel Aviv to seriously discuss their position on the situation, which they said reflected Tehran’s growing power and Russia’s surprising weakness in importing technology it should have had years ago.
All of this will escalate tensions between Israel and Russia. Perhaps because the Israeli public condemned the recent Russian bombing of Kyiv. So Israel is looking forward to a serious showdown with Putin. A survey conducted by the Ukrainian embassy in Tel Aviv found that more than 80 percent of Israelis support Kiev, but are not talking about military aid for fear that Russian troops in Syria will withdraw their entire army, including air defense systems.
In some military bases only, a limited number of soldiers remain. And some Israeli leaders have begun to demand additional military assistance from Ukraine, especially after Russia’s missile strikes on Kiev and Lviv, and have asked Ukraine to equip it with an Iron Dome. Fearing a Russian response in Syria, Israel officially objected, and Israel’s Foreign Ministry warned Israelis in Ukraine to leave.
Israel intervened when fighting escalated in Ukraine with Russian forces. There is growing domestic demand for Israel to support Kiev militarily and even covertly, and tensions are rising as Iran supplies drones and combat equipment to Russia. Ukraine has asked Israel to provide defense systems against Iranian missile and drone attacks, and Israel has expressed deep concern about military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran.