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17 Oct, 2022 14:43

Ex-Russian leader issues warning to Israel

If Tel Aviv sends arms to Kiev, the move would send bilateral relations into a tailspin, Dmitry Medvedev said
Ex-Russian leader issues warning to Israel

If Israel were to support Ukraine with weapons, it would be detrimental to relations with Moscow, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president, warned on Monday, after Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Nachman Shai stated it was time the country provided Ukraine with arms as NATO members do. 

Writing on his Telegram channel, Medvedev, who now serves as the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, denounced Israel’s potential decision to deliver arms to Ukraine as “extremely reckless,” adding that “it would destroy all interstate relations between our countries.”

“That’s not to mention that Bandera scum were and remain Nazis,” he stressed, referring to Ukrainians who have a soft spot for Stepan Bandera – a controversial Ukrainian national hero who collaborated with the Nazi regime during World War II. 

Medvedev went on say that if Israel were to give arms to such people, it could go as far as to declare Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, another notorious Ukrainian Nazi collaborator, their national heroes. 

The ex-president’s comments came after Shai voiced support for propping up Kiev’s military. In a tweet on Sunday, the official, citing deliveries of Iranian ballistic missiles to Russia – an allegation Tehran has denied – claimed there was “no longer any doubt where Israel should stand in this bloody conflict.”

“The time has come for Ukraine to receive military aid as well, just as the USA and NATO countries provide,” he stated.

Since Russia sent troops into the neighboring state in late February, Israel has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and condemned Moscow’s actions. However, it has never imposed sanctions on Russia and has supported Kiev only with non-lethal aid. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine has asked Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense system, with Tel Aviv refusing to indulge the request so far. It argued that the technology that defends the small state of Israel would not work on a territory as large as Ukraine’s. Such a response did not sit well with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who claimed in late September that he was “in shock” due to this stance. 

According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, there are about 1.3 million Russian-speaking Israeli citizens, or 15% of its total population, and Russia is home to one of the world’s largest Jewish communities.