Zelensky: Israeli aid to Ukraine could've stopped Russia-Iran drone axis

Zelensky warned Iran is not "just interested in money," claiming Russia is paying for its drones through assistance to Iran's nuclear program.

  Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a meeting of the National Security and Defence Council in Kyiv, Ukraine September 30, 2022. (photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a meeting of the National Security and Defence Council in Kyiv, Ukraine September 30, 2022.
(photo credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

The Russian-Iranian drone axis in Ukraine would not have reared its head if the Israeli government had agreed to supply air defense systems to the Ukrainian military, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a pre-recorded message to Haaretz's Democracy Conference held on Monday.

If Ukraine had "immediately secured our skies, Russian would not have a motive to go to Iran and offer something in exchange for assistance in terror," the Ukrainian president told the conference. "We have been asking Israel for help since 2014," Zelensky lamented. "The decision of your state, your governments...[was to] 'not to annoy' the Kremlin, not to help Ukraine for real."

Russia paying Iran for drones with nuclear knowledge says Zelensky

Zelensky warned the Israelis that Iran is not "just interested in money," with Russia paying for the Islamic Republic's drones through assistance to its nuclear program, as he said.

"This is exactly the meaning of their alliance," Zelensky said. "And this alliance of theirs simply would not have happened if your politicians had made only one decision at the time, the decision we asked for."

A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022. (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022. (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The Ukrainian president further criticized Israel's policy regarding the Ukraine-Russia War, stating that it is time for Israel to choose if it sides with democratic worlds to with "those who turn a blind eye to Russian terror.

"In eight months of war, Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us...and their stock is dwindling," Zelensky said. "This is why Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries...it found them in Iran."

Iran is actively aiding "Rashism" (Russian fascism) by getting something for itself, Zelensky claimed. "This is not about politics, but about values," he stressed. "We see that we are supported [by the Israeli public] in the promised land."

Zelensky noted that the Russian-Iranian alliance can be "rendered meaningless, if [Ukraine and Israel] act together in the same way as with other democracies."

Lapid: Israel will be proactive in supporting Ukraine

The Ukrainian president wrapped up his speech on a positive note, expressing optimism that "we will see [Israeli] support in the sky as well." 

Also on Monday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid rejected claims that Israel does not support Ukraine, saying that Israel "is going to be proactive in supporting Ukraine and we are going to take Israel’s national security interest into account."