Ukraine’s leader is arguing against Israel’s decision to refuse to provide its Iron Dome missile defense system, saying the attack on his country has brought Moscow and Tehran closer together.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has criticized Israel’s neutrality in the Ukraine war, saying that its leaders’ decision not to support Kyiv with weapons has encouraged Russia’s military partnership with Iran.
Addressing a conference on Monday organized by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Zelenskyy repeated his request for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile technology to thwart Russian strikes.
Ukraine’s 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 missile defense system that could protect our air.” he said via 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 held back on providing military equipment for fear of damaging relations with Russia.
The decision “not to provoke” Russia by helping Ukraine militarily made the partnership between Moscow and Tehran, Zelenskyy said, without specifying exactly how.
“Simply, this alliance would not have happened if your politicians had made only one decision at the time,” Zelenskyy said. “… It seems that it was adopted a long time ago – in 2014 when Russia started its aggression against Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s leader has criticized Israel on several occasions for failing to firmly oppose Russia’s attack on his nation.
Russia and Iran’s nuclear program?
Having exhausted its own missile stocks, Russia went looking for weapons from other countries, Zelenskyy said.
“He found them in Iran. I have a question for you: How do you think Russia is paying Iran for this? Does Iran only have 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 Kyiv says Moscow has been using in its recent attacks against Ukraine.
“The disgusting sound of Iranian drones can be heard in our skies every night. According to our information, Russia ordered about 2,000 Shaheds from Iran,” Zelenskyy said. “Instructors came from Iran to teach Russians how to use drones [in Ukraine].”
Iran has denied supplying Russia with weapons for the war.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has by no means supplied weapons to any side for use in the war in Ukraine, and its policy is to oppose arming either side with the aim of bringing war is over,” said Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister.