Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday said he sees a "positive trend" in Kyiv's relations with Israel after the two countries shared intelligence about Russia's purported use of hundreds of Iranian drones in the war in Ukraine.
"So we are at the beginning of cooperation, this is a positive trend in relations with Israel," Zelenskyy told reporters in Kyiv, as quoted by AFP.
He added that "after a long pause, I see us moving forward".
Speaking earlier during a joint press conference with his counterpart from Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine and Israel were now sharing key information.
"The intelligence data, which is now being discussed, once again confirms what our intelligence was aware of -- around 400 Iranian drones have already been used against the civilian population of Ukraine, 60-70 percent of them have been shot down," said the Ukrainian President.
Zelenskyy’s comments come two days after he 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, 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."
"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.
Last week, current and former US officials told The New York Times that Iran has sent trainers to Ukraine to help Russians overcome problems with the fleet of drones that they purchased from Tehran.