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Russia requests Israel not to obstruct equipment transfer from Syria to Ukraine

December 5, 2022 at 2:03 pm

This picture taken on December 20, 2021 shows a view of an Israeli flag flying near the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene atop the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

Russia has reportedly requested Israel not to obstruct its transfer of military equipment from Syria to Ukraine, as Tel Aviv continues to strike areas in Syria and sit on the fence regarding Moscow’s ongoing invasion.

According to Israel’s public broadcaster Kan yesterday, an anonymous Israeli official informed it that Russian and Israeli officials have been holding negotiations in recent days regarding Moscow’s continued withdrawal of equipment from Syria and their transferral to its operations in Ukraine.

Since the Russian military launched the invasion into its neighbour’s territory in February this year, the Kremlin has been increasingly withdrawing some of its arms, equipment and forces from Syria – where it has assisted the regime of Bashar Al-Assad against opposition forces over the past seven years throughout the ongoing civil war – and redeploying them to Ukraine.

That need for a shift in necessary equipment has only grown in recent months, as Ukrainian forces have won back significant parts of their territory and their resistance has presented an unexpected challenge to Russia.

READ: Israel fears a clash with Russia if it were to arm Ukraine

One of the major inclusions in the equipment being transferred is reportedly the sophisticated Russian S-300 air defence system, which has been a significant disruption to Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.

Israel has, so far, refused to arm Ukraine, unlike its western allies, and has been on the fence about supporting it against the Russian invasion. Following the revelations that Iran has provided Russia with military equipment such as armed drones, however, Tel Aviv has reportedly been reconsidering its position.

As part of that ongoing reconsideration, Moscow also reportedly fears that Tel Aviv’s concerns over the Iranian drone and missile supplies could cause it to disrupt or obstruct the shifting of military equipment.

In recent months, the idea of Israel militarily assisting or providing arms to Ukraine was addressed by Russia, with former President Dmitry Medvedev saying it would “destroy all diplomatic relations”, and anonymous sources later telling Bloomberg that Moscow would retaliate against Tel Aviv in an unspecified way.

READ: ‘Israel-Ukraine tensions may continue under Netanyahu’