Jerusalem: Israel has approved the export licenses for the possible sale of anti-drone jamming systems to Ukraine, US online media Axios reported on Wednesday, citing Ukrainian and Israeli officials.
According to the report, it was the first time since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine that Tel Aviv has approved defense export licenses for possible weapons sales to Kiev. The licenses have been approved for Israeli makers of anti-drone systems Elbit and Rafael, the officials told the media.
According to sources, the license was approved by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in mid-February at the order of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to review the country’s policy toward the Ukraine conflict. Cohen notified Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the approval of the licenses during his visit to Kiev on February 15.
A Ukrainian official told the media that a delegation of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry had visited Israel to get information on the systems, but no contracts have been signed so far.
According to the report, the Israeli side offered that Kiev procures its drones that use electronic warfare to jam and down drones within a range of some 25 miles and can be deployed near power plants or other critical sites to protect them from drones.
The Ukrainian official said that Ukraine’s Defense Ministry was interested in the procurement of anti-drone systems but added that these were deemed less critical than other arms.
“What we really need is a defensive system against ballistic missiles,” he told the media.
A senior Israeli official told the media that one of the reasons Israel approved the licenses was to possibly see how the defense systems perform against Iranian drones, which Russia allegedly uses in Ukraine.
Western countries have repeatedly accused Tehran of supplying combat drones to Moscow for use in Russia’s special operation in Ukraine. Moscow and Tehran have repeatedly denied that Russia has been procuring attack drones from Iran. The Iranian foreign minister said last year that Iran stopped selling drones to Russia months before it launched the special military operation on February 24, 2022.