Ukraine: Israel participates in US's emergency weapons talks in Germany in possible turn against Russia

Ukraine: Israel participates in US's emergency weapons talks in Germany in possible turn against Russia
2 min read
27 April, 2022
Israel's participation suggests it is possibly turning against Russia and considering departing further from its focus on providing Ukraine with only humanitarian assistance.
The leader of the Israeli defence ministry's political office, Brigadier General Dror Shalom, attended the conference on Tuesday [Arif Akdogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Israel participated in emergency talks hosted by top US officials in Germany on Tuesday about supplying Ukraine with more weapons to fend off Russia's ongoing assault on its territory.

The decision suggests Israel is possibly turning against Russia and considering departing further from its focus on providing Kyiv with only humanitarian assistance.

Israel has so far tried to maintain a distance from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, avoiding strong statements condemning Russia due to previously close ties with Moscow and a large population of Russian origin.

The meeting of 40 countries at the US's Ramstein Air Base in Germany came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine of only "pretending" to negotiate a ceasefire and warned of a "real" risk of a new world war.

The leader of the Israeli defence ministry's political office, Brigadier General Dror Shalom, attended the discussions after Israel was invited on Sunday, according to  Haaretz.

Benny Gantz, the Israeli defence minister, could not participate due to Holocaust Remembrance Day, which starts late on Wednesday.

Israel has faced backlash for its decision not to give Ukraine military assistance for most of the nine weeks of Russia's assault, and high-level Ukrainian officials have raised questions, including President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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"We can ask why we can't receive weapons from you, why Israel has not imposed sanctions on Russia or is not putting pressure on Russian business," Zelensky told Israel's parliament in March via video link.

While a week ago Israel said it would provide helmets and military vests after discontent from the United States and others, it is yet to give Ukraine any lethal military aid.

However, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said previously in April that "Russian forces committed war crimes against a defenceless civilian population" in Ukraine.

A statement issued by Gantz's office last week said that he "wished to emphasize that Israel stands by the side of the citizens of Ukraine, and the need to continue to assist the country, and to act to end the war", The Times of Israel newspaper reported.

Agencies contributed to this report.