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Ukraine photos claim to show downed Russian drone with Israeli origin

Moscow’s Forpost reconnaissance UAV is produced under license from the Israel Aerospace Industries; it was sold to Russia in 2015

A Russian Forpost drone. (Russian Defense Ministry)
A Russian Forpost drone. (Russian Defense Ministry)

Photos circling on social media over the past two days purport to show the remains of a downed Russian drone in Ukraine derived from an Israeli aircraft.

The photos, the authenticity of which has not been verified, show the ruins of a Forpost drone, including a plaque bearing the name of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

The Forpost is a reconnaissance UAV, produced by Russia under license based on the IAI Searcher. Such licenses were sold to Russia in 2015, and the country is believed to operate several dozens of such drones.

Israel’s Searcher is considered to be a relatively old model, developed in the 1980s.

The use of Israeli-linked weaponry by Russia is a somewhat sensitive issue, as Ukraine continues to urge the Jewish state to provide it with military aid to fend off the Russian invasion of the country.

Israel has provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including 100 tons of medical and cold-weather equipment flown out of Ben Gurion Airport last week. However, it has sought to walk a tightrope to maintain good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, the latter of which maintains a military presence in Syria and is negotiating Iran’s return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Ukraine has been publicly pleading for Israel to provide it with protective gear, but has so far been rebuffed.

A Channel 12 report Friday said Jerusalem had begun considering Ukrainian requests for some defensive equipment, such as helmets and flak jackets.

Earlier Friday, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “does not” understand Israel’s refusal to provide defensive equipment, as he accused Israeli leaders of not doing enough to help Ukraine by providing defensive aid, absorbing refugees, and taking a clear stance against Russia.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, gives a statement to the media on the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, in Tel Aviv, on March 11, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)

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