Ukraine asks Israel to share information on Iranian support for the Russian army

Ukraine has asked Israel to share intelligence on any support Iran provides to the Russian military in the war, senior Israeli officials told Axios.

Driving the news: In recent days, Russia has attacked several Ukrainian military positions with “kamikaze drones” which the Ukrainian military said were repainted Iranian Shahed-136 drones.

  • The United States and Ukraine have accused Iran of sending hundreds of sophisticated attack drones to Russia – an allegation denied by Tehran.
  • Ukrainian military commanders Told the Wall Street Journal, Iranian drones have given the Russians a significant advantage in several areas.

Between the lines: Russia and Iran have grown increasingly close as the world seeks to isolate Moscow over its invasion.

  • The deepening ties also come as efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which would remove most sanctions on Tehran, continue but without any progress.

In the wings: Israel’s deputy director general for Euro-Asia Simona Halperin, who is in charge of the Russia and Ukraine files, traveled to Kyiv with the Israeli ambassador on September 7. They met with Maksym Subkh, Ukraine’s special representative for the Middle East, according to Israel officials.

  • Subkh said Ukraine wanted to establish a “dialogue channel” with Israel on Middle East issues to share information and intelligence and coordinate positions, Israeli officials said.
  • He added that this was particularly important given the growing military cooperation between Iran and Russia, Israeli officials said. Subkh stressed that Ukraine opposes lifting sanctions against Iran if a nuclear deal is signed, saying it will allow greater military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.
  • According to Israeli officials, Subkh told Israeli diplomats that Ukraine expects Israel to take a much clearer position regarding Russian aggression and unequivocally support Ukraine, which Israel has avoided due to of its own relations with Russia.
  • Subkh said his country wanted Israel to provide military aid directly or indirectly through third parties and to join international sanctions against Moscow, including sanctions against individuals, Israeli officials said.

A senior Ukrainian official confirmed that Halperin met with Subkh, who inquired about Iranian involvement in the war – primarily Iranian drones.

  • “The Israelis have given us intelligence, but we need a lot more,” the official said.

State of play: Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Israeli Defense Ministry granted an export license to Israeli companies that wanted to sell anti-drone systems to Ukraine. But when the war broke out, these permits were suspended.

  • Last week, The Times of Israel reported that an Israeli company sold an anti-drone system to Poland in order to transfer it to the Ukrainian army.
  • According to the report, the Israeli Defense Ministry understood that the end user of the system would be Ukraine, but decided not to intervene.

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