The Defense Ministry delivered an armored ambulance to the Ukrainian rescue forces on Friday, the first of four such ambulances that Israel will provide to the beleaguered country in the coming months.
The Mercedes "Sprinter" ambulance is armored by the Israeli "Plasan Re'em" company.
The aid is the latest in a series of humanitarian aid efforts made by the Israeli government and Israeli organizations for Ukraine.
The Israeli government has transferred thousands of helmets and protective vests, and dozens of protective suits for mine clearance and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) filtering systems to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion of the country.
In March and April, Magen David Adom donated 10 armored ambulances to Ukraine. The ambulances are able to navigate a range of different terrains, including areas with rubble.
Israeli controversy within the Ukraine-Russia conflict
Israel has been criticized for not sending offensive weaponry to the country, and on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Jerusalem must stop “balancing” its relationship between Ukraine and Russia.
Speaking to a New York Times conference, Zelensky said that Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu will need to choose between relations with Kyiv or Moscow.
“If he just wants to maintain his personal relations with President Putin, then, of course, he may continue to do what he has been doing,” Zelensky said. “But if he wants to maintain the historical relationship between Israel and the Ukrainian people, then I think you need to do whatever you can in order to save as many people as possible.”
Kyiv continues to push Jerusalem to supply offensive weaponry to the country battered by Russian missile strikes and attacks by Iranian-made drones provided to Moscow.
“If he just wants to maintain his personal relations with President Putin, then, of course, he may continue to do what he has been doing.”Volodymyr Zelensky
Israel has sent over humanitarian aid as well as medical equipment but refuses to send over any weaponry that can be deemed as lethal weaponry, including air defense systems. Jerusalem is also reported by foreign media to be helping with intelligence but it is concerned that any advanced weaponry that could be supplied might end up in the hands of Iran.
Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz stressed on Thursday that Jerusalem continues to stand and support Kyiv and condemns all direct attacks against the country’s civilians.
“We are reminded that war is not a distant reality and that countries must be able to build their capabilities and defend themselves," he said. "At the same time, alliances must be strengthened in order to ensure regional and global stability.”
Gantz has spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov twice over the past month and offered to assist the war-torn country in developing a civilian early-warning system.
“This is an ongoing process,” he said.