Ukraine Points to Iran’s Drones in Bid for Israeli Military Aid
Highlighting the role that Iran is playing in supplying Russia with drones, Ukrainian officials hope to secure Israeli air defense systems.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba indicated on Tuesday that Kyiv would formally request air defense systems from Israel—emphasizing that Iran, Israel’s main regional adversary, had engaged in extensive cooperation with Russia during its nearly eight-month invasion.
“Today, Ukraine will send an official note to the government of Israel with a request to urgently provide Ukraine with air defense systems and to start high-quality cooperation on Ukraine’s acquisition of appropriate technologies,” Kuleba said during a statement. “We do not see any objective reasons why this should not happen.”
To highlight the importance of Israeli aid, the foreign minister highlighted several instances of Iranian hostility against Ukraine—most notably its sale of various drones to the Kremlin, which has used them in its recent bombing campaign against Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities.
“Iran is a red line for Israel,” Kuleba said. “And when Iran becomes complicit in the crime of aggression against Ukraine, I think that someone in Israel who still has some hesitations about helping Ukraine, those hesitations should be dispelled.”
In addition to soliciting Israeli aid, Kuleba announced during his statement that he had recommended the severing of diplomatic ties with Iran to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, a decision that “[took] into account the numerous destructions [sic] caused by Iranian drones to the civil infrastructure of Ukraine, the deaths and sufferings caused to our people, as well as in connection with the reports about the possible continuation of Iran’s supply of weapons to Russia.”
Before Kuleba’s remarks, the Foreign Affairs Ministry had filed multiple complaints with Iran urging it to cease its involvement with Russia’s drone program. Iran has publicly denied selling drones to Russia, and Russia has denied attempting to purchase them, although Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has captured several of the drones in question. In addition to the alleged drone sales, Iran is reportedly in discussions to provide the Russian Army with missiles for use in Ukraine, according to the Washington Post.
Israel has largely remained neutral on the Russian invasion since February, condemning Moscow in several UN votes but declining to enforce sanctions against the Kremlin or supply Ukraine with advanced weapons systems. However, several high-ranking Israeli officials, notably Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai, have publicly called for Tel Aviv to shift its stance in favor of Kyiv.
Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for the National Interest.