Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov has warned that Moscow will introduce retaliatory measures against Israel in case the Tel Aviv regime supplies Ukraine with military equipment and aid amid the military conflict there.
“We are carefully checking this information and will respond accordingly if it is confirmed,” Viktorov told Russian state television on Thursday.
It was not clear from the Russian envoy’s remarks what such a response might entail.
The comments came a day after Israeli minister for military affairs Benny Gantz said Israel will provide Ukraine with helmets and flak jackets.
Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Alexander Ben Zvi after Tel Aviv denounced Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
It came after Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid accused Russia of committing “war crimes” in Ukraine, alleging that there was no “justification” for Russia’s military campaign against its western neighbor.
“Russian forces committed war crimes against a defenseless civilian population. I condemn these war crimes,” Lapid said.
Earlier this month, the Israeli regime voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution suspending the Russian Federation’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council.
Reacting to the vote, the Russian foreign ministry called the resolution “unlawful and politically motivated.”
It also called the Israeli regime’s support for it “a thinly veiled attempt to take advantage of the situation around Ukraine in order to divert the attention of the international community from one of the oldest unresolved conflicts — the Palestinian-Israeli one.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, following Moscow’s recognition of self-declared Lugansk and Donetsk republics, collectively known as the Donbass. The two breakaway regions, located in eastern Ukraine, are largely populated by ethnic Russians.
Since the onset of the Russian military campaign, some of the heaviest fightings between the two sides have been focused around Mariupol, located in southeastern Ukraine and on the north coast of the strategic Sea of Azov.
The fall of Mariupol, besieged by Russian troops since March 1, enables Moscow to open a land route to the Crimean Peninsula, which joined Russia in 2014.
According to an estimate by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, some 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers and fighters remained inside Azovstal. Putin called on them to lay down their weapons and surrender, saying Russia would treat them with respect, but all to no avail.
Azovstal is one of the biggest metallurgical facilities in Europe, covering 11 sq km, with huge buildings, underground bunkers and tunnels.
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