Ukraine envoy slams Israel for withholding Iron Dome and protective gear

Ukraine on Tuesday criticized Israel for refusing to provide defensive weapons and for not accepting wounded Ukrainian soldiers for rehabilitation.

“While Russia is slaughtering our citizens, the Israeli government remains in its comfort zone and refrains from providing Ukraine with minimal defensive aid,” Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk said during a briefing. a press conference in Tel Aviv.

“We are asking Israel for a defensive tool in the form of an iron dome and similar defensive tools,” Korniychuk continued. “As Israel protects the residents of the Gaza Strip from Hamas fire, we must protect our citizens, women, children and men.

Korniychuk added that Israelis are showing “love and empathy,” but the government’s actions do not match the rhetoric.

The envoy also said that the helmets and body armor sent by Israel in May was only 10% of what Kyiv requested.

Israel has shipped 2,000 helmets and 500 bulletproof vests which the Defense Ministry said would be handed over to relief forces and civilian organizations.

Helmets and bulletproof vests are shipped to Ukraine, May 19, 2022 (Ministry of Defense)

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Jerusalem has tried to preserve its ties with Moscow and until recently refused to send defensive equipment to Ukraine, instead sending more than 100 tons of humanitarian aid. and setting up a field hospital in western Ukraine for six weeks. .

Israel’s policy contrasts with that of the United States and many European countries, which have supplied deadly weapons to the Ukrainians. On Monday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced that Britain would send Kyiv the M270 multiple launch rocket system, which can hit targets 80 kilometers away.

Israel also refuses to help wounded Ukrainian soldiers, Korniychuk said.

“We are asking Israel to accept former soldiers whose limbs have been amputated to fit them with prostheses, and Israel is delaying. There is no more humanitarian aid than that,” he said.

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, listens to a report from a serviceman near the front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, June 5, 2022. ( Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“The Israeli government must consider the moral aspect and decide whether it will join the right side like other democracies around the world,” the ambassador said.

After lambasting Israeli policies, Korniychuk made sure to “thank Israeli citizens, businesses and organizations, who have helped Ukraine since day one of the war.”

On the 103rd day of the war, fighting continues to rage around the city of Severodonetsk in southeastern Lugansk Oblast. Russian forces were also pushing into the Zaporizhia region, but the geographic extent of the fighting is a far cry from the first weeks of the war when Moscow tried to take Kyiv and Kharkiv.

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of army colonel Oleksander Makhachek during his funeral in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, June 3, 2022. According to comrades, Makhachek was killed fighting Russian forces when a shell landed at his position on 30 May. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

In May, it was reported that Israeli officials should support sending military aid to Ukraine, albeit at token levels, and always in the hope of keeping the country’s relationship with Russia intact. ; however, there has been no announcement about it.

According to a diplomatic official, Israel will not consider sending offensive weapons or advanced defensive technologies, such as the Iron Dome anti-missile system, but will try to find equipment that can be donated without triggering a crisis with Moscow.

Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials specifically mentioned Iron Dome as the top of their wish list for Israeli defensive equipment.

“Everyone knows your missile defense systems are the best,” he told the Knesset in March. “You can certainly help our people, save the lives of Ukrainians, Ukrainian Jews.”

Sending defensive weapons would mark a sea change in Israel’s approach to warfare, even if it would stop long before the tanks, guns, planes and ammunition sent by the Europeans and Americans.

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