(DCWatchdog.com) – Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an “escalation” warning to Israel after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested his country may give weapons to Ukraine to fight off the Russian invasion.
During the 11 months since Russia attacked Ukraine, Israel has provided Ukraine only non-lethal aid – unlike the United States and most of its other allies.
Moscow’s reaction came after on Tuesday, Netanyahu, who returned to power earlier this month, told CNN he was “looking into” giving Ukraine “other kinds of aid” apart from humanitarian assistance.
“We say that all countries that supply weapons should understand that we will consider these to be legitimate targets for Russia’s armed forces,” declared Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, as cited by The Times of Israel and Fox News.
“Any attempts — implemented or even unrealized but announced for the supply of additional, new, or some other weapons — lead and will lead to an escalation of this crisis. And everyone should be aware of this,” she stated on Wednesday.
Israel has abstained from giving Ukraine military aid because of its complicated relations with Putin’s Russia, which is an ally of Iran and the direct Israeli neighbor Syria.
The deepening alliance between Moscow and Israel’s enemy Iran, however, may lead Israel to change its stance and start giving weapons to Ukraine, the report notes.
Iran has been supplying Russia with growing numbers of cheap killed drones employed by Putin’s regime against Ukrainian civilians.
Netanyahu’s comments come after last week, an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman said the country’s “policy of the security echelon has not changed.”
Before that, there were reports that Israel had turned down a request by the US to provide Ukraine with Hawk missiles.
“Each request is examined on its merits. Beyond that, we do not refer to additional details,” the spokesman said.
In his CNN interview, Netanyahu, the nation’s longest-serving Prime Minister, said he would be willing to become a mediator in the Russia-Ukraine war with the US if the war parties asked him to do that.
Moscow’s latest warning didn’t target only Israel for suggesting it could give Ukraine military aid.
Zakharova also lashed out against France’s President Emmanuel Macron after he said earlier that providing Ukraine with fighter jets wasn’t “off the table.”
Also on Wednesday, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov accused the “entire military infrastructure” of the US-led NATO alliance of “working against Russia.”
“We see how NATO’s entire intelligence infrastructure, including reconnaissance aviation and satellite groupings are working in the interests of Ukraine in a 24/7 mode,” Peskov told state-run news agency Tass.
Putin’s spokesman complained the so-described situation created a “very peculiar” and “hostile” environment for Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine will mark one year on February 24.