Ukraine Sees ‘Hypocrisy’ in Western Allies’ Defense of Israel

For people in eastern Ukraine, where nightly barrages of drones from Russia outpace the military’s overwhelmed air defenses, the response by Western allies to Iran’s aerial assault against Israel this weekend produced uncomfortable comparisons.

The militaries of the United States, Britain, France and others stepped in to help Israel defend against the fusillade of more than 300 Iranian drones and missiles, nearly all of which were intercepted. A similar number of aerial weapons are fired at Ukraine on a weekly basis, its officials say, with many of the drones in those attacks designed by Iran and now produced by Russia.

Since the start of this year, Russia has fired 1,000 missiles, 2,800 drones and 7,000 guided aerial bombs at Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsya. While Washington and other allies have provided Kyiv with some powerful air defense weapons, they have not directly confronted Russian forces, and Ukrainian officials have long argued that the supplied weapons are insufficient to counter the threat from Moscow.

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where 1.3 million people live with nightly air raid alarms, many people expressed anger and disappointment over the weekend that Ukraine’s allies, wary of provoking Russia, don’t give it the same protection as they did Israel.

“When rockets fly in Israel, the whole world writes about it,” said Amil Nasirov, a 29-year old singer. “Here, rockets are flying, and we don’t have American bombers that are saving the sky like over Israel.”

“It’s very stupid; it’s hypocrisy,” he added. “And it’s like some devaluation of Ukrainian lives.”

Ukraine has begged since the outset of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 for more tools to close its sky to Russian missiles. But the first Patriot missile systems from the United States and Germany — the only proven defense against ballistic missiles — did not arrive until the spring of 2023.

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