Fri, 22 Sep 2023

Kiev reportedly received mysterious "strategic materials"

The US government pushed Israel into a one-time deal to provide Ukraine with mysterious "strategic materials" several weeks ago, Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed on Thursday. Tel Aviv reportedly wants the details of the arrangement kept under wraps to avoid irking Moscow.

Citing three "senior European diplomatic officials," Haaretz reported that Washington approached the Israeli government several weeks ago, pressing it to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft batteries. While Israel refused, it agreed to fund the "strategic materials" instead.

Several million dollars were transferred to "a NATO member state that is deeply involved in supplying military equipment to Ukraine," the report explained. This state then purchased the materials and sent them to Ukraine. Haaretz' sources demanded that the nature of these materials be kept a secret, while Tel Aviv asked all parties involved in the deal not to publicly reveal it, "in order not to anger [Russian President Vladimir] Putin."

Haaretz' report did not name the NATO member involved in the deal. However, it resembles an earlier gray-market deal involving Poland.

Back in September, Hebrew news site Zman Yisrael reported that at least one Israeli defense contractor was shipping anti-drone systems to Poland, with Warsaw then sending them on to Ukraine. The Israeli government reportedly turned a blind eye to this arrangement, despite its official refusal to supply any offensive weapons to Kiev.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly called on Israel to supply his country with weapons, including the Iron Dome air defense system. Israel - which depends on diplomatic relations with Moscow to fly its warplanes in Russian-controlled Syrian airspace - has officially refused, and has only sent defensive gear like helmets and body armor.

However, Ukrainian officials told the New York Times last month that Israel was providing intelligence support to its military, and that an Israeli firm was sending satellite imagery of Russian troop positions to Kiev. Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov then denied this in an interview with Haaretz, before asserting that "Israel will be ashamed it didn't stand with us."

With a change in government set to bring Benjamin Netanyahu back into power in Israel, Haaretz' sources said that it would be up to the veteran right-winger whether to repeat the "strategic materials" deal.

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