In a further sign of its shifting stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Israel on Wednesday, May 18, sent Ukraine helmets and flak jackets that the Defense Ministry said will be given to rescue forces and civilian organizations.
In a statement, the ministry said it was shipping 2,000 helmets and 500 flak jackets — the first sent by the Jewish state since the Russian invasion began.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Jerusalem has tried to preserve its ties with Moscow and has until recently refused to send defensive equipment to Ukraine — instead, sending over some 100 tons of humanitarian aid as well as setting up a field hospital in western Ukraine for six weeks.
However, the attempt to maintain a neutral stance has appeared to shift somewhat in recent weeks. Jerusalem agreed last month to send the helmets and flak jackets to emergency workers in Ukraine and explicitly accused Russia of war crimes as scenes of atrocities have emerged in towns and cities across the country.
Sending defensive arms would mark a sea change in Israel’s approach to the war, though it would stop well short of the tanks, guns, planes, and ammunition sent by the Europeans and Americans.
The reported move is being driven both by pressure from the US and other Western allies, which want Israel to back up its condemnations with actions and by concerns that Israel’s reluctance to more fully back Ukraine could hurt defense exports if countries fear Jerusalem will do the same to them in a time of need.
“God, we thank You that Israel is able to supply these protective items to the Ukrainian army, and we ask that You bring peace between Israel and the rest of the world.”
Originally posted at VFINews.