TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israeli authorities have approved export licenses for the possible sale to Ukraine. It’s about of Israeli jamming systems of Iranian Shahed drones. Shahed UAVs are widely used by the Russian military. The possible sell was reported by Axios citing anonymous Israeli and Ukrainian officials.
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As emphasized, this is a certain adjustment of Israel’s policy towards Ukraine. Israeli authorities still do not intend to supply Kyiv with lethal weapons.
Tel Aviv has a main reason to not transfer arms to Ukraine. It’s its reluctance to strain relations with Russia due Israel’s actions in Syria. Moscow maintains considerable influence in Syria. But Russia still tolerates Israeli military operations there.
The approval of the license to export anti-drone systems does not mean a change in our policy, as these systems are defensive in nature. Their use does not involve conducting fire, as a result of which Russian soldiers could be injured, an Israeli official explained, cited by Axios.
The decision was made in February
The approval of the export licenses by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen took place in mid-February as authorities in Tel Aviv conducted a review ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the country’s policy toward the war in Ukraine. Cohen informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of this decision on February 16, when he was visiting Kyiv.
Licenses have been approved for two Israeli companies – Elbit and Rafael, producing anti-drone systems. Israel was recently visited by a delegation from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on this issue, but a bilateral sale agreement has not yet been concluded, the website said.
Axios explained that the Israeli systems, with a range of about 40 km, use electronic warfare techniques to jam and shoot down enemy UAVs. They can be located near power plants or other critical infrastructure facilities.
Israel wants to test it
In informal conversations, Israeli officials acknowledged that one of the reasons Tel Aviv approved the licenses was a possible test of how Israeli defense systems cope with countering Iranian drones, the American portal adds.
In August 2022, Russia began buying kamikaze drones from Iran, the mass use of which on the battlefield in Ukraine began in September. Unmanned aerial vehicles, mainly Shahed-136 machines, are used to strike civilian objects and critical infrastructure objects in almost the entire territory of the country. The government in Tehran has consistently denied supplying Moscow with its drones.
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