Report: Israel Cans Ukraine Arms Shipment to Placate Russia

September 15, 2014  

A proposed sale of Israeli weapons including drones to Ukraine has been blocked for fear of antagonizing Russia, according to Israeli news reports on Monday.

A Ukrainian delegation had visited Israel with a view to acquiring military hardware including drones to use against pro-Russian separatists, said the report on Channel Two television.

It was not reported when the visit took place, or when the decision to turn down the request was taken.

According to the report, the Defense Ministry had given the green light for the sale of pilotless aircraft produced by the company Aeronautics to Ukraine, but the foreign ministry then vetoed the sale.

The ministry apparently concluded that the sale risked causing anger in Russia and could provoke Moscow to sell more arms to Syria and Iran, both of which pose a direct security threat to Israel.

A Defense Ministry spokesperson refused to comment on the report.

Ukraine has continued to see violence, after a shaky truce signed on September 5 between the government and pro-Russian separatists faltered further on Monday, with both sides blaming the other for the bloodiest day since the ceasefire went into effect.

The ceasefire was the first such agreement backed by both Kiev and Moscow since fighting erupted in April.

The recent reports of Israeli consideration for defense relations with Russian come at a time when Israeli relations with America have been tense, with US President Barack Obama’s administration being largely critical during Operation Protective Edge.

During the operation, Obama canceled a routine shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel and order greater scrutiny on future weapons transfers.

Meanwhile Israel has been advancing vastly growing ties with China, Japan and India.

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