Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 4, 2019. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/POOL/AFP)

Moscow warns Israel against supplying any arms to Ukraine

Russia warns Israel against supplying weapons to Ukraine after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was considering military aid for Kyiv and was willing to mediate within the conflict.

“We are saying that each one countries that provide weapons (to Ukraine) should understand that we’ll consider these (weapons) to be legitimate targets for Russia’s armed forces,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova tells reporters.

The Kremlin has warned of an escalation within the conflict as Ukraine’s Western partners vow more weapons for Kyiv.

“Any attempts — implemented and even unrealized but announced for the provision of additional, recent or another weapons — lead and can result in an escalation of this crisis. And everybody should concentrate on this,” Zakharova says.

In an interview with CNN yesterday, Netanyahu tells Jake Tapper that he has been asked before to mediate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and he would “definitely consider” doing so if asked again, but provided that the US agreed.

“If I’m asked by each side, and admittedly, if I’m asked by america — because I feel, you realize, you may’t have too many cooks within the kitchen … and you realize, now we have our own backyard to take care of,” Netanyahu says.

Netanyahu said he was “looking into” providing the country with “different kinds of aid” besides humanitarian help, amid concerns over Israel’s “complex relationship” with Russia and its have to retain “freedom of motion” in Syria in its effort to “keep Iran in check.”

The warning from Moscow also comes after reports in recent weeks that Israel has refused requests from the US handy over ten Hawk anti-aircraft batteries and a whole lot of interceptor missiles for delivery to Ukraine.

Nevertheless, The Latest York Times reported last month that the US military was quietly shipping a whole lot of 1000’s of artillery shells to Ukraine from an enormous stockpile it has in Israel.

The armaments were stored for the US to make use of in regional conflicts, and Israel has permission to make use of a few of the supplies in emergency situations, the report says.

Netanyahu tells CNN that it’s an American decision and he “has no problem” with that.

Israel has resisted providing weapons to Ukraine because the start of Russia’s invasion. One major reason for Israel’s hesitance appears to be its strategic need to keep up freedom of operations in Syria, where Russian forces largely control the airspace.

The difficulty has strained ties between Jerusalem and Kyiv, because the Ukrainians have consistently pressed Israel to offer more defense aid. The Ukrainian ambassador earlier this month urged Israel to provide his country with missile defense systems within the wake of continued deadly Russian strikes.

Israel has provided large amounts of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, in addition to other forms of assistance, and the brand new government under Netanyahu has said it intends to maintain those supplies flowing.

This week Israel sent Ukraine three armored ambulances.

AFP contributed to this report


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