Wednesday, 22 Mar 2023 - 29 of Adar, 5783

Ukrainian Defense Minister cancels call with Gantz

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A day earlier, the Israeli minister told E.U. ambassadors that while Jerusalem stands with Kyiv, it will not provide it weapons.


A phone call set to take place on Thursday between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov was canceled at the request of Kyiv, Gantz’s office said.

No revised date was scheduled for the call, the statement said.

The incident comes after Gantz on Wednesday told European Union ambassadors that while Jerusalem stands with Kyiv, it will not supply it with arms.

“Our policy vis-à-vis Ukraine will not change—we will continue to support and stand with the West, we will not provide weapon systems,” Gantz said.

“We have asked the Ukrainians to share information regarding their needs, and offered to assist in developing a life-saving early-warning system,” he added, likely referring to a version of the IDF Home Front Command’s area-specific Color Red system.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a news conference on Tuesday that his country would formally ask Israel to supply it with air defense systems, amid ongoing Russian aerial bombardments and revelations that Tehran is providing Moscow with suicide drones.

Axios reported on Wednesday that it had obtained a copy of a letter to this effect sent the previous day by officials from the Ukrainian embassy in Israel to their counterparts in the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“Ukraine is highly interested in obtaining from Israel (in shortest possible terms) defence systems, in particular: Iron Beam, Barak-8, Patriot, Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow Interceptor and Israeli support in training for Ukrainian operators,” said the letter, according to the Axios report.

The Iron Beam is a directed-energy weapon air defense system, the Barak-8 is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defense system, David’s Sling is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, and the Arrow program encompasses a family of anti-ballistic missiles.

Israel has shied away from arming Ukraine over fears of upsetting Russia, the leading player in Syria, where the Israeli military has in recent years conducted hundreds of strikes aimed at curbing Iran’s military entrenchment and the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah there and in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Kornichuk on Tuesday said that the cancellation by Gantz’s office in August of a scheduled call with Reznikov was “deeply disappointing.”

“They did not provide an explanation for the cancelation,” Kornichuk told Ma’ariv in an interview, adding, “Going forward, I don’t think our defense minister will be in contact with Gantz.”


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