Tel Aviv rejects US request for Germany to supply spike anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, Axios says
Israel will not allow Germany to sell Spike anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, according to a report by US outlet Axios on Wednesday. The missile is manufactured in Germany under an Israeli license and has to be approved for export to Tel Aviv. The Pentagon asked a top Israeli defense official for approval during a visit to Washington earlier this month, but it was denied.
Israel is concerned that Russian troops could be killed by Israeli-made weapons, which could harm Tel Aviv’s security interests in Moscow and Syria, an unnamed senior Israeli official told Axios.
The issue came to the fore two weeks ago when Amir Ashel, the director general of the Israeli Defense Ministry, visited the United States. Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of state for policy, asked Germany for permission to export “Spikes” to Ukraine, according to officials who spoke to Axios. Ashell said no, telling Kahl that Israel would only supply non-lethal military equipment to Kiev.
When Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz arrived in Washington last Wednesday, his meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reportedly did not address the issue of missiles. On the day of his visit, Israel announced that it was sending 2,000 helmets and 500 protective vests to the Ukrainian civil defense.
The Pentagon has not officially commented on the report.
Made by Israel’s Raphael Advanced Defense System, “Spike” first entered service in the 1980s. The missile can be equipped with either an anti-tank or a high-explosive warhead and can be either operated by an operator or fired into sight. The United States and some of its NATO allies have deployed it in attack helicopters.
The United States and its allies have been sending thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as artillery, armored vehicles, tanks and attack helicopters, to Ukraine in recent weeks. Russia claims that most of those weapons were destroyed in the cruise missile attack. There has also been some friction between NATO allies, with Poland accusing Germany of not sending its Leopard tanks to replace the hundreds of T-72s sent to Warsaw Kiev.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba described the situation in Donbass. “Too bad,” And unless the United States sends Kyiv Multiple Rocket Launcher System (MLRS), its forces will not be able to go on the offensive.
Russia invaded the neighboring country in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the first Minsk agreement, signed in 2014, and the final recognition of Moscow’s Donetsk and Lugansk’s Donbas republics. The German- and French-brokerage protocols were designed to give special status to isolated territories within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine formally declare itself a neutral state that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv has insisted that the Russian invasion was completely unpleasant and has denied claims that it is planning to forcibly restore the two republics.
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