Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ukraine demands Israel-style security guarantees

Ukraine wants security guarantees from its Western backers similar to the level of protection that the US provides Israel with, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, has stated.

The Ukrainian government is negotiating a series of treaties intended to seal the country’s pro-Western alignment until it is granted full NATO membership. Officials in Kiev say the deals will secure long-term military assistance from the US and its allies, regardless of political changes that might otherwise prompt donors to cut the aid.

“An agreement between the US and Ukraine must work no worse than the American memorandum with Israel, the effectiveness of which was confirmed by joint actions of the allies during the deflection of the mass attack on Israel by Iran,” Yermak wrote on social media on Wednesday.

Tehran launched a barrage of drones and missiles at Israel last weekend in retaliation for the April 1 airstrike on its consulate in Damascus.

The long-anticipated move resulted in only “minor damage”, Israel claimed, as the US, UK and France used their military assets to help stop most of the Iranian projectiles. The interceptions cost Israel $550 million, according to local defense experts.

Western officials have made it clear that Kiev should not expect the kind of intervention that Israel enjoyed last week.

“Putting NATO forces directly in conflict with Russian forces – I think that would be a dangerous escalation,” British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on Monday. Instead of “Western planes over [its] skies trying to shoot things down”, Ukraine requires air defense systems, he explained.

Kiev has been urging the US for months to move forward with the appropriation of over $60 billion in aid, which is being blocked by House Speaker Mike Johnson. The discussions that Yermak participated in covered “the action plan right after the US Congress takes a decision on military aid for Ukraine”, he stated.

Some US media have speculated that Johnson may yield to pro-Kiev pressure and submit the Senate-approved bill to a vote following the Iranian attack. The bill includes funds for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell has also stated Kiev should not request the same kind of support that the West provided to Tel Aviv during the Iranian attack because the two situations cannot be compared.

Answering a reporter’s question after Tuesday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers, Borrell said the two situations were “different things that cannot be compared”.

“Iran’s attacks flew over air bases of the armies of France, the US, the UK and Jordan. They have gone over their bases, which then acted in self-defense,” Borrell added.

“There are no air bases of the UK, or the US, much less Jordan of course, on Ukrainian territory or in the territory Russian missiles fly over. Therefore, the same answer cannot be given because the circumstances are not the same.”

Israel has also spent a lot of time and money to build the Iron Dome air defense system, which the EU couldn’t build overnight in Ukraine “even if we had money in the box”, the Spanish diplomat continued. The bloc is nevertheless trying to provide Kiev with additional air defense capabilities, he added.

When asked if the EU was involved in defending Israel, Borrell stated that the bloc was not directly involved, because it is not a state and does not have an army, but some of its members are.

“From that point of view I can say that the Union, or the member states of the Union that have the capabilities to do it, have done it,” he said, adding, “We have participated, of course, in [passing along] the information that the intelligence services had about how imminent the attack was. We were warned, like so many others.”

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