A former Israeli army commando now fighting with Ukrainian forces against the Russian invasion has expressed hope that the Israeli government will start supplying Kyiv with the defensive weapons systems for which it has been pleading.
“Israel will start helping with air defense systems and various other systems,” Denys Desyatnik, who spent more than a decade serving with IDF, told Ukraine’s NV broadcaster in an extensive interview.
Desyatnik noted that Israel’s aid to Ukraine so far had been purely humanitarian, arguing that newly-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might well change that policy. Netanyahu spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this week and told him that he would “think how he can help” the country’s military effort.
Desyatnik argued that Israeli military technology would make a significant difference on the battlefield. “There are many different technologically developed systems that Israel is able to supply to Ukraine. Israel is somewhere between, perhaps, supplying or beginning to supply, [but that is] something that we simply do not yet fully know about.”
A native of Uzbekistan who made aliyah to Israel 26 years ago, the 45-year-old Desyatnik lives in Haifa with his Ukrainian-born Israeli wife. He made the decision to volunteer for Ukraine’s military forces after speaking to his wife’s family in the wake of the Russian invasion at the end of February. Interviewed by Israeli media outlets earlier this year, Desyatnik said that in addition to his IDF service, he had served in Israel’s Border Police as well as a special police patrol unit.
Desyatnik was speaking shortly after leaving the war-ravaged city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine. “The situation there is really very difficult,” he said. “The city is constantly under artillery fire and the Russian occupiers are right near Bakhmut. But our troops do not let them take a step, they hold Bakhmut.”
In a separate development, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel said in a media interview that he rejected Netanyahu’s campaign trail suggestion that he could mediate between the government in Kyiv and President Vladimir Putin’s regime in Moscow.
Speaking to broadcaster I-24, Ambassador Yevhen Korniychuk described the conversation between Netanyahu and Zelensky as “positive” and “frank and open.”
“Netanyahu said he will see if he can reconsider quickly the issue of defensive [assistance], which is the most important for us,” Korniychuk said.
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Author: Ben Cohen
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