Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning to Israel against selling arms to Kiev – in retaliation for the S-300 air-defense missiles Russia has released for Iran – adds a European dimension to the dispute by planting Israel squarely in the middle of Moscow’s Ukraine dispute with the United States. The Russian leader’s implied threat to hit back by sending the same missile system to Syria as well as Iran, touches on another dispute between Russia on the one side and the US and Israel on the other, namely the Syria conflict.
Whereas critics of the Netanyahu government highlight its falling-out with the Obama administration over the Iranian nuclear issue, they disregard the intense US-Israeli military cooperation in two vital regions of conflict – Syria and Ukraine.
This working relationship is not lost on Putin.
Putin has repeatedly cautioned Washington that arming Kiev with US offensive weapons would bring forth matching Russian steps that would hurt US interests in Europe and other parts of the world.
He tried sending this warning through German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, as well as addressing it to Secretary of State John Kerry at his meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Moscow, said the warning message, would not spare US interests after what Putin sees as the Obama administration’s assaults on Russia’s national security, by means of NATO’s creeping absorption of Ukraine and offensive arms if provided by the US for Kiev’s campaign against pro-Russian separatists.
Lifting the embargo on S-300 air defense missiles for Iran was the Russian leader’s first step toward making good on his warning, but his reprisals are not likely to stop there.
Full article: Putin warns Israel: Selling arms to Ukraine would provoke Russian S-300 sales to Syria too (DEBKAfile)