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Israeli electronic warfare systems against drones may help Kiev in its effort to counter Russian airstrikes.

For the first time since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Israel has approved export licenses for possible arms supplies to Ukraine – which could be drone defense systems, the US news agency reported Wednesday (March 15). portal Axios citing Israeli and Ukrainian officials.

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According to the publication, two Israeli companies that produce anti-drone systems – Elbit and Rafael – have received such licenses.

They use radio electronic technology to shoot down drones within a radius of about 40 kilometers. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen had briefed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the permit issue during his visit to Kiev in mid-February, the report said.

In addition, it is reported that a delegation of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense visited Israel to familiarize themselves with the proposed systems, but no supply contracts have yet been signed.

Israeli policy on the war in Ukraine

Earlier, on January 28, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Roy Prossor, had stated that Israel is helping Ukraine “but behind the scenes and much more than is known”, asking for understanding for his country’s restrained stance on the issue. The Israeli diplomat had attributed this attitude to the presence of “Russians in Syria” as well as the presence of a large Jewish community in Russia.

Until recently, Israel categorically rejected arms deliveries to Ukraine, although Israeli authorities have repeatedly and unequivocally condemned Russian aggression. On January 19, new Secretary of State Eli Cohen assured Kiev of continued humanitarian aid.

Russian drone attacks

Before that, in October 2022, it was reported that the Ukrainian authorities had sent a request to Israel for the supply of an air defense system to protect against Iranian drones, the use of which Kiev accuses Russia. When asked by DW about the possibility of supplying Ukraine with air defense system components, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that Israel “does not discuss such matters publicly.”

After Israel held early elections and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, he told CNN in early February that he had not ruled out his country supplying Ukraine with the Iron Dome air defense system.

According to some Western countries, as well as Kiev, Iran supplies Russia with unmanned combat aircraft, which the latter uses to attack Ukraine. However, Moscow and Tehran deny such cooperation.