Open discussions have broken out in Israel about the Israeli government’s apparent arming of Ukrainian military forces against their adversaries, the pro-Russian separatists of the Donbass region of East Ukraine. Apparently forty human rights groups inside the Jewish State have complained in an open letter to the Israeli Defense Ministry that these weapons are finding their way to the Azov Battalion, allegedly a neo-nazi group.
They argue that these weapons serve forces that openly espouse a neo-Nazi ideology and cite evidence that the right-wing Azov militia, whose members are part of Ukraine’s armed forces, and are supported by the country’s ministry of internal affairs, is using these weapons. An earlier appeal to the Defense Ministry was met with no response, wrote Haaretz, a left-wing newspaper in Israel.
The petition, submitted by attorney Itay Mack, contains abundant evidence showing the arming of the Ukrainian regime and its Azov forces. Thus, for example, Ukrainian soldiers have been seen carrying Israeli-made Tavor rifles in military parades in Kiev. In February 2016 it was revealed that Elbit Systems will be part of a group investing in Ukraine’s defense establishment.
In April 2016 the chief of Ukraine’s air force met a representative of an Israeli defense company to discuss the upgrading of communications systems in that country’s warplanes and helicopters. The Ukrainian company “Fort” got Israel’s approval for making Tavor, Negev and Galil rifles.
In the city of Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine there is a military training school. Its website indicates that training there is provided former IDF officers and that its instructors were trained by Israelis.
There is plenty of propaganda on both sides of the issue of Nazis in Ukraine, and both sides use disinformation to their advantage in this conflict. However, what we do find interesting is the apparent admission that Israel is indeed arming Ukraine with large quantities of weapons, including automatic rifles (produced by license in-country), assistance with helicopter upgrades, and training of Ukrainian military personnel.
It is not the propaganda of this story we find so interesting; it is the open admission of Israeli support of the Ukrainian military. We have long advocated a more subtle approach to helping Ukraine, not finding the need to need for American troops or openly supplying American weapons the right way to proceed. There are plenty of entities, such as Israel, that can do the job. We find it interesting that point is being validated.