Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he is “in shock” at Israel’s failure to give Kyiv anti-missile systems to help counter Russian attacks.
The president has been asking for the weapons since shortly after the war started in February. Zelenskyy mentioned Israel’s Iron Dome system, often used to intercept rockets fired by Palestinian fighters in Gaza.
“I don’t know what happened to Israel. I’m honestly, frankly – I am in shock because I don’t understand why they couldn’t give us air defences,” he said.
Zelenskyy’s comments were stronger than those he made in March when he chided Israel for its reluctance to send weapons. At the time, Israel was non-committal, saying it would help Ukraine as much as it could.
Zelenskyy made the latest remarks in an interview with French reporters on Wednesday and his office released a recording on Saturday.
‘Stating the facts’
Israel, which has condemned the Russian invasion, is wary of straining ties with Moscow, a powerbroker in neighbouring Syria where Israeli forces frequently launch attacks on what they say are pro-Iranian fighters.
In the same light, Israel sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and expressed support for its people, but the government did not join international sanctions against Russia.
Russia in the past accused Israel of supporting “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine.
“I understand – they have a difficult situation, regarding the situation with Syria and Russia,” Zelenskyy said, adding he was not making accusations.
“I am stating the facts. My conversations with the Israeli leadership have done nothing to help Ukraine.”
In a phone call with Zelenskyy on September 1, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said he and his counterpart “talked about the fighting situation in Ukraine”, and he expressed his “condolences for the dead and injured in the war”.
Lapid said he has called for “a diplomatic solution to end the fighting” in Ukraine.