Zelensky criticizes Israel neutrality over Russia-Iran 'alliance'


President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday criticized Israel's neutrality in the Ukraine war, saying the decision by Israeli leaders not to support Kyiv had encouraged Russia's military partnership with Iran.

"This alliance of theirs simply would not have happened if your politicians had made only one decision at the time... it seems that it was adopted a long time ago -– in 2014, when Russia began its aggression against Ukraine," Zelensky told a conference organized by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

"The decision 'not to annoy' the Kremlin, not to help Ukraine for real," enabled the alliance between Moscow and Tehran, Zelensky said.

Zelensky has on several occasions criticized Israel for failing to firmly oppose Russian aggression.

The Israeli position has however evolved over recent months, from near neutrality to more forceful condemnations of Russia.

Still, on Monday, Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz told his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov that "Israel will not provide weapon systems to Ukraine."

The Ukrainian president also said Russia ordered around 2,000 drones from Iran, the same kind that Kyiv says Moscow has been using in its recent attacks against Ukraine.

"The disgusting sound of Iranian drones is heard in our skies every night. According to our intelligence, Russia ordered about 2,000 'Shaheds' from Iran," Zelensky said during a speech at a conference organized by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. 

It was not immediately clear if Zelensky was referring to Russia's past purchases or new ones.

Zelensky also said "Iranian instructors came to teach Russians how to use drones" in Ukraine.

Zelensky's speech came a few days ahead of legislative elections in Israel, on November 1.

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