Gallant, Ukrainian counterpart discuss joint threat from Iran, missile warning system

Defense minister briefed by Oleksii Reznikov about situation amid ongoing war with Russia; the two talk about Israeli attack alert technology being developed for Ukraine

Defense Minister Yoav Galant attends a ceremony in the Knesset, June 13, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Defense Minister Yoav Galant attends a ceremony in the Knesset, June 13, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke Wednesday with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov and discussed the ongoing Russian invasion as well as a missile warning system that Israel is developing for Ukraine.

According to a readout from Gallant’s office, the Israeli minister was briefed on developments on the ground and expressed concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

“The parties also discussed the common threat posed by Iran, and its influence on the war in Ukraine, as well as its wider global impact,” the statement said.

Gallant updated Reznikov on the progress of a missile-warning system Israel is developing for Ukraine to help it deal with relentless Russian missile and drone attacks. Russia has sent hundreds of Iranian-made suicide drones to attack targets across Ukraine, particularly power stations and other crucial infrastructure.

Iran also supplies weapons to its anti-Israel proxies in the Middle East, such as the Hezbollah terror group.

In May, Kyiv said it had begun testing the Israeli early warning system to sound an alert of incoming Russian strikes as part of a pilot program in the coming months.

Deputy speaker of Ukraine’s parliament Olena Kondratiuk said the system was tested in the Ukrainian capital.

Israeli officials have not commented publicly on the matter.

Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov talks to the media at Ramstein Air Base in Ramstein, Germany, April 21, 2023. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

Ukraine has urged Jerusalem to supply it with missile interceptor capabilities, but Jerusalem has so far refused, as Israeli leaders seek to avoid overly antagonizing Russia. This hesitance appears largely linked to Israel’s strategic need to maintain freedom of operations in Syria, where Russian forces largely control the airspace. Israel is one of the few countries that maintains relatively good relations with both Ukraine, a fellow Western democracy, and Russia.

Unlike in Israel, the system set for deployment in Ukraine will feature alerts only, without interception capabilities. According to the Walla outlet, officers from the IDF Home Front Command met with officers from Ukraine in Poland a number of times in recent months for talks on deploying the system.

The Israeli warning system uses a mix of radar and electro-optic devices to detect rocket, missile and drone launches, classify the size and the threat they represent, and pinpoint on a map the areas that are in danger.

Citizens in those areas receive warnings through sirens, alerts on their phones, and messages on TV and radio.

The system has been credited with saving hundreds of lives in Israel over the years during flare-ups of violence with terror groups in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, which have launched thousands of projectiles at Israeli cities.

In recent years the system’s accuracy has been upgraded so that it can limit its alerts to specific areas of large cities.

A drone is seen in the sky seconds before it hit a building in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Russia’s launched an invasion of its neighbor in February 2022. Though Russia controls about a fifth of the country its advance has been blunted amid grinding battles and trench warfare. Western countries have poured weapons into the Ukrainian military as it holds up the Russian advance.

The US has also been pushing Israel to increase its support, apparently including supplying weapons to Kyiv, according to reports.

At the beginning of February, Russia warned Israel against supplying weapons to Ukraine.

Israel has so far only sent humanitarian aid, as well as non-lethal military equipment such as flak jackets and helmets. It also operated a field-hospital in Ukraine for several weeks in the early stages of the war.

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