Russia has reportedly requested that Israel not intervene or impede its efforts to transfer defense equipment from Syria to Ukraine.
The Kan public broadcaster, citing an Israeli official involved in the issue, reported Sunday that Israeli and Russian officials have been holding conversations in recent days over the Kremlin’s concern.
The Russian embassy did not respond to the network’s request for comment.
While Israel and Russia have long coordinated their activities in Syrian airspace in order to avoid any clashes, ties have been strained since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.
Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes in Syria aimed at preventing Iran from establishing a military foothold there, and to stop its supply of advanced weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group, an Iranian proxy.
Russia, meanwhile, has provided thousands of troops and military hardware to its ally Syria, as the regime battles to suppress a grinding civil war.
In October, The New York Times reported that Russia was drawing down its forces in Syria amid supply constraints in its ongoing war in Ukraine, including removing the sophisticated S-300 air defense system that was a major threat to Israeli Air Force operations in the country.
While providing humanitarian assistance, Israel has maintained a strict policy of not providing military aid to Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on February 24, including systems that could help it intercept Russian missile and drone attacks.
One major reason for that policy appears to be Israel’s strategic need to maintain freedom of operations in Syria.
However, Jerusalem has recently seemed to warm to the idea of supplying defensive equipment, since Iran supplies the Kremlin with attack drones.
It is not clear whether presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will change course on the war.