Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Israel's refusal to provide military aid to Ukraine in response to Russia's invasion of his country caused the current military alliance between Russia and Iran.
Speaking by video at a Haaretz conference Monday, Zelenskyy said that "in eight months of full-scale war, Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us, and their stock of missiles is dwindling. That is why Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries to continue its terror. It found them in Iran."
"How does Russia pay Iran?" he asked, saying that what Iran got in exchange for selling weapons to Russia was not primarily money, but assistance for its nuclear weapons program.
"This alliance of theirs simply would not have happened if your politicians had made only one decision at the time, the decision we asked for. Every time we in Ukraine, at the meetings of the Staff of the Supreme Commander in Chief, discuss Russian missile and drone terror, we also talk about our partners who already help or can help us protect the sky. Unfortunately, the words Israel, Israeli, are not heard during those moments.
He accused the Israeli government of deciding "not to help Ukraine for real" as far back as the invasion of Crimea in 2014 in order "not to annoy the Kremlin."
According to Zelenskyy, if Israel had provided Ukraine with the air defense systems it had requested, "Russia would not even have a motive now to go to Iran and offer it something in exchange for assistance in terror."
In July, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US had intelligence indicating that Russia is looking to Iran for UAVs.
He indicated at the time that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with several UAVs for use in Ukraine, and train Russian forces to use these UAVs.
A month later, it was reported that Iran had begun training Russians to use its drones, though it was also noted that Russia is experiencing “numerous failures” and technical glitches with the drones it purchased from Iran.
Last month, Ukraine reported the first Russian attacks carried out using Iranian-made drones, targeting the south of the country, including the strategic city of Odessa on the Black Sea.
At the start of October, Iranian-made drones were also reportedly used in an attack in the Ukrainian town of Bila Tserkva, southwest of the capital Kyiv.
On Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke by phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov, during which they agreed that Israel would assist Ukraine in the development of a civilian early warning system.
Gantz reiterated that Israel would not provide weapon systems to Ukraine.