Ukrainian FM: 'We Want Israeli Drones'

After deal for Israeli military hardware reported canned last month over Russian pressure, visiting Ukrainian diplomat makes another call.

Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar,

Ukraine's Pavlo Klimkin, Binyamin Netanyahu
Ukraine's Pavlo Klimkin, Binyamin Netanyahu
Haim Zach/FLASH90

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on Thursday gave an interview to Israel's Knesset Channel, in which he said his nation is interested in expanding military ties with the Jewish state.

"We spoke about the importing of drones from Israel," said Klimkin after meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other officials. "That's really important in the supervision framework of the ceasefire (with pro-Russian separatists), but we are speaking with many countries about that and countries in the European Union in particular."

Klimkin continued "today we are holding a special cooperation with France and Italy. Therefore the topic of drones is not so controversial as it was two or three months ago when everything started."

Ukraine has been gripped by violence since its Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted last winter in a popular movement from the streets pushing for closer ties with the EU. That tension spiraled further after a de facto Russian military invasion of Crimea, and votes in several territories to separate from Ukraine and side with Russia.

The call for Israeli drones by Klimkin comes after reports last month that a proposed sale of Israeli weapons - including drones - to Ukraine had been blocked over fear of antagonizing Russia.

A Ukrainian delegation had visited Israel to acquire military hardware including drones to use against pro-Russian separatists, said the report on Channel Two. It said the Defense Ministry had approved the sale only to have the Foreign Ministry veto it for fear of such a move causing Russia to sell more weapons to Iran and Syria.

Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists signed a ceasefire on September 5, with tensions frequently threatening to spill over again since then.








top