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Iran Press TV

Bowing to US pressure, Israel reportedly approves sale of anti-drone systems to Kiev

Iran Press TV

Friday, 17 March 2023 7:38 AM

In a first since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine a year ago, Israel has reportedly approved the export licenses for the possible sale of anti-drone jamming systems to Kiev, bowing to US pressure.

The US-based news website Axios cited Israeli and Ukrainian officials as saying that the licenses had been approved for supplying Kiev with anti-drone technology as the fighting rages on.

"The approval of the export licenses by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen came in mid-February as Israel was conducting a Netanyahu-ordered review of its policy toward the war," the officials said, referring to the Israeli regime's prime minister.

"The licenses were approved for two Israeli companies — Elbit and Rafael — that develop anti-drone systems."

The report said Cohen notified Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about the approval during his trip to Kiev on February 15.

One Ukrainian official told Axios that a delegation from Ukraine's Ministry of Defense visited Tel Aviv recently to get a presentation on the anti-drone systems but no deal has been signed yet.

"The systems Israel proposed that Ukraine buy use electronic warfare to jam and down drones," he added. "The systems have a range of around 25 miles and can be positioned near power plants or other critical sites to protect them from drones."

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry is interested in the systems but they are viewed as less critical because Ukraine has been able to intercept the drones between 75-90% of the time, according to Ukrainian officials cited in the report.

"What we really need is a defensive system against ballistic missiles," an official said.

Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, Tel Aviv has been wary of providing military assistance to Ukraine, fearing such a move could create tension with Russia and harm ties with Moscow.

Israeli regime previously turned down a request from the Ukrainian government to provide the country with the Iron Dome missile defense system and has also refrained from joining the US and other Western countries in imposing sanctions on Russia.

But pressure has been mounting on Netanyahu from his own party members as well as from the Western allies to provide Ukraine with anti-drone and anti-missile systems.

Yuli Edelstein, a member of Netanyahu's Likud Party, traveled to Ukraine and met with Zelensky on February 20, along with opposition legislator Ze'ev Elkin.

"Israel can and should do much more than it has done so far," they said in a statement after the meeting. "We must stop being afraid, and take an active unequivocal position in accordance with the basic moral values, as would be expected from any Western country."

Russia launched the military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, to "de-Nazify" the country over the threat of the former Soviet republic joining the US-led NATO military alliance.

Since the onset of the war, the United States and Ukraine's other Western allies have sent Kiev tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons, including rocket systems, drones, armored vehicles, tanks, and communication systems.

Western countries have also imposed a slew of economic sanctions on Moscow. The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that it risks prolonging the war that recently completed one year.

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