Israel has refused Ukraine’s request to purchase the Iron Dome air defense system, Tel Aviv-based Yedioth Ahronoth revealed.
Jerusalem refused the request as it involved the risk of annoying Moscow, the daily added, citing sources.
Israel and Russia have reportedly forged an understanding not to harm each other’s interests in Syria in recent years. Jerusalem provides notice to Moscow before striking Iranian-backed militias to avoid Russian casualties. The Jewish nation, in turn, does not ask permission to conduct military strikes in the country.
According to the Israeli outlet, the US administration and American Congressional members have understood the Israeli approach of “treading lightly” in its relations with Russia.
Israel must obtain US approval before selling the Iron Dome to a third country as per the co-development agreement signed with US-based Raytheon.
Ukraine reportedly approached Jerusalem directly to purchase the system recently after the Israeli government made clear to Washington its unwillingness to deliver the system to Kyiv last year.
Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed his government’s desire to buy the Iron Dome on an Israeli television channel earlier this month. He also revealed Kyiv’s request to the US to acquire a Patriot missile battery.
Israel’s refusal to Washington’s “unofficial” request came as the House Armed Services Committee inserted an amendment in its version of the 2022 defense bill that requires the Pentagon to submit a report to Congress outlining options for potentially selling or transferring existing systems.
Although the document didn’t specify the system, Politico wrote that two Iron Dome batteries were prime candidates for transfer, citing a Congressional staffer.