Israel has so far denied that Iron Dome batteries will be supplied to Ukraine, a senior U.S. military officer resurfaced the issue at a U.S. Senate briefing last week.
The comments by the commander of the Missile and Space Defense Command, General Daniel Krabler, left the impression that such batteries would soon be deployed in a country that has been at war with Russia for more than a year.
The issue came up in an open discussion of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces by the chairman, Angus King. "Why isn't Iron Dome supplied to Ukraine? We helped pay for it. About $3 billion was transferred to Israel to develop it. $500 million I understand every year. Wouldn't that be an important resource for Ukrainians for whom air defense is an important issue?" asked a senator.
US officer's remarks on supplying Iron Dome to Ukraine | From Senate Hearings
The first respondent was Deputy Secretary of Defense John Plumbe, who said, "The United States has provided Ukraine with what it can from its stockpiles and we encourage his allies to do so. The missile system that the US uses for missile defense is the Patriot system, I am not aware that Iron Dome was offered to the Ukrainians, but maybe it happened. I just don't know. Maybe someone else can answer," Plumb said.
Biden with Zelensky in Kyiv. US leads in support of Ukraine, photo: Reuters
Chairman King turned to the officers who came to the committee and asked if they had anything to add. At this point, General Krabler said the following: "The two Iron Dome batteries that we currently have, one of which has completed its training and equipping for deployment. It's ready for deployment. The second one finishes training his new equipment at this moment. So the army has one Iron Dome battery available for deployment, if we get a request."
Although his statements indicate that these are American Iron Dome batteries, since the Iron Dome is manufactured here, it originated in Israel. Since the outbreak of the war, Israel has stressed that it does not intend to supply the advanced air defense batteries to Kyiv.
Israel's Contribution to Ukraine - Warning Systems
One of the arguments raised in Israel is the incompatibility of the short-range system with the nature of the fighting in Ukraine. Nonetheless, Israel is currently providing Ukraine with missile warning systems in order to enable Ukraine to provide more targeted warnings to the site of the Russian missile landing.
Political sources confirmed to Israel Hayom that in recent weeks the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the operation of the warning systems has been completed in Poland.The American officer's remarks, together with the timing of their statements, rekindle the claims that the Iron Dome is being delivered to the Ukrainians, even if not directly from Israel. Israeli officials declined to comment and said they would not argue with an American officer. However, they noted that he did not explicitly say that Iron Dome batteries were coming to Ukraine.
PRIME MINISTER BENYAMIN NETANYAHU AND RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR PUTIN AT A MEETING FROM YEARS PAST, ARCHIVE PHOTO: EPA/MAXIM SHEMETOV / POOL
Immediately after the Russian invasion, Kiev sought to accept the sophisticated Israeli system, but Jerusalem evaded, fearing a harsh Russian response. Although Western countries avoid ties with the Russians, two senior Israeli diplomats made a rare visit to Moscow two weeks ago.
The Foreign Ministry claimed that the talks between the two officials dealt with the Iranian issue. However, in light of the American officer's remarks, the visit may have had a different purpose.
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