Israel is considering expanding military aid to Ukraine based on a request from US President Joe Biden’s administration, US and Israeli officials told Axios on Wednesday.
Israel sent its head of the political-military bureau at the Ministry of Defense, to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for a US-led meeting on sending weapons to Ukraine, Axios said.
It added that White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan also met with his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata, at the White House last week, during which Sullivan delivered Washington’s request to Tel Aviv.
“A senior Israeli official said the Israeli government is considering increasing its military aid to Ukraine and is likely to do it as the war continues. But the official stressed Israel will only provide nonlethal military equipment,” Axios reported.
Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24 claiming it aimed to “denazify” the country alongside its other goals. While Israel condemned the conflict and accused Moscow of committing war crimes, it remained careful of siding with Ukraine to maintain military cooperation with Russia in Syria.
The report comes as tensions between Israel and Russia have heightened over Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s comments alleging that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had “Jewish origins”.
On Sunday, Lavrov said in an interview with Italian TV Media Set: “So when they say ‘How can Nazification exist if we’re Jewish?’ In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything. For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest antisemites were Jewish.”
His comments enraged Israel which condemned his statement as “unforgivable” and summoned the Russian ambassador in protest.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that while Israel makes “every effort” to maintain good ties with Russia, “there’s a limit and this limit has been crossed this time.”
He added: “The government of Russia needs to apologize to us and to the Jewish people.”