Senior Ukrainian officials, including Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, are set to meet with a high-level Israeli delegation in Warsaw next week to discuss Jerusalem’s role in the reconstruction of their country, Israeli state broadcaster Kan reported on Monday.
“This conference is a platform where for the first time we will talk about how Israel can help restore Ukraine after the war,” Israeli Ambassador to Kyiv Michael Brodsky told Kan, referring to the ongoing Russian invasion of its western neighbor.
Russian troops entered Ukraine in late February in what Moscow described as an effort to “denazify” the former Soviet Republic, a claim which has been derided by the west.
The talks will focus on “what knowledge, what technology, and what experience and assistance can be transferred,” Brodsky said, expressing his hope that Ukraine, “like Israel, will succeed in flourishing as a country that lives in the background of a security threat.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that his country will become a “‘big Israel' with its own face” – indicating that his country intends to emulate the Israeli security state in the wake of Russia’s invasion – and has repeatedly called on Jerusalem to supply his forces with weapons, especially missile defense systems.
Israel has consistently declined such requests, citing its concern that alienating Moscow could endanger Israel’s freedom of action in Syria –where Russian forces have stood aside and allowed repeated strikes against Iranian targets – as well as the risk to Russia’s large Jewish community.
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Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian President now serving as Deputy Chairman of the country’s Security Council, has warned Israel that supplying military equipment to Ukraine would "destroy the political relations between the two countries.”
While Israel has not yet agreed to support Ukraine’s military, it is reportedly financing “strategic materials” worth millions of U.S. dollars to contribute to the Ukrainian war effort – and on Monday also announced that it would supply Kyiv with 20 generators, Kan reported. It has also provided a field hospital, body armor for first responders and planeloads of humanitarian supplies.
The announcement about the generators follows multiple waves of Russian airstrikes carried out against Ukrainian power stations, significantly weakening the country’s power grid during the cold Eastern European winter.
Noting that Ukrainian drones have been repeatedly used to carry out such strikes, Zelenskyy told Haaretz’s Democracy Conference in October that Moscow’s military cooperation with Tehran will likely result in Russia assisting Iran with the development of its nuclear program and that Israel could have prevented the two countries’ burgeoning alliance.
Addressing the Haaretz Democracy Conference in a prerecorded video message, the Ukrainian leader said that Iran’s sale of suicide drones and provision of military instructors to Russian forces operating in his country would not have been possible without Israel’s decision to stay neutral in the conflict.
“In eight months of full-scale war, Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us. And their stock of missiles is dwindling. This is why Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries to continue its terror. It found them in Iran,” Zelenskyy said at the time, adding that Ukrainian intelligence estimates that Russia ordered some 2,000 Shahed drones from Tehran.
In a public appeal to the Israeli government published online in late October, over 100 Ukrainian Jews – including community leaders, academics, lawmakers and rabbis – complained that Israel has stood on the sidelines while “tens of thousands of Jews were forced to leave” and “objects of Jewish public infrastructure [were] destroyed and damaged throughout the country.”
Speaking to Haaretz, Brodsky said that the meeting’s importance had “been slightly exaggerated” and that it would be ”mainly a tech conference with a focus on post-war recovery” rather than an Israeli Marshall Plan for Ukraine.
At issue will be “which Israeli technologies/know how/experience can be applicable for Ukraine after the war,” he explained, adding that the talks will be “mostly about business opportunities for the Israeli companies.”