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The WSJ says US defending Israel causes envy and irony in Ukraine, as terror must lose everywhere

Tuesday, 16 April 2024, 09:02
The WSJ says US defending Israel causes envy and irony in Ukraine, as terror must lose everywhere
Aftermath of Russian attacks on Ukraine. Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has written that the rapid and effective response of the United States and its allies to Iran's strikes on Israel is causing envy and irony in Ukraine, which has been deterring Russia's daily aggression for more than two years and is also asking the world for help every day.

Source: The Wall Street Journal  

Quote from WSJ: "Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed frustration after the U.S. and its allies swooped in to defend Israel against a massive Iranian attack over the weekend, highlighting the limits of Western support for Kyiv. 


Ukrainian cities have been under fire for more than two years from Russian missiles and explosive-laden drones of the same type used in Tehran’s attack on Israel."

Details: The WSJ reiterated that the United States and a coalition of Western and Arab partners shot down almost all of the 170 drones, about 120 ballistic missiles and about 30 cruise missiles that Iran fired on 13 April. The response was immediate and all air targets were destroyed before they reached Israeli airspace.

The WSJ noted that Ukrainians have been asking the world for months for greater protection from Russian attacks. This comes as Russian strikes intensify, particularly against the energy sector, and as vital US aid remains stalled in Congress.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, after the allies successfully repelled an attack on Israel, emphasised that this example showed "the whole world... how effective unity can be in the protection from terror."

"Terror must lose everywhere and completely—not somewhere more and somewhere less," Zelenskyy stressed.

The WSJ writes that Ukrainian officials refrain from direct public criticism of US policy for fear of appearing ungrateful for Washington's support, but other former and current politicians are less diplomatic.

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst said that "there is nothing but American timidity that explains why we don't do that for Ukraine."

He stressed that the American, UK and French forces that defended Israel on Saturday only intercepted Iranian missiles and drones, avoiding any interaction with Iranian forces that could lead to a direct military conflict.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Biden administration said that their approach to Ukraine and Russia is relevant given the risk of escalation.

The WSJ emphasised that in the early days of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its NATO allies resisted Ukrainian calls for a no-fly zone, citing logistical difficulties and the risk of direct conflict with the Russian military.

Then, there were concerns about the provision of various types of weapons, particularly long-range missiles, which persist to this day.

"Recent delays in aid from the U.S. have emboldened Russia, which is clawing territory from outgunned and exhausted Ukrainian troops in the east of the country. The U.S. has meanwhile chastised Ukraine for using long-range drones of its own design to strike targets deep inside Russian territory.

Rather than helping Ukraine create the kind of air-defence network Israel has, the West has provided Kyiv with a patchwork of equipment that blunted Russia’s attacks for many months. But the country’s stockpiles of air-defence interceptors are being depleted by an intensifying campaign of Russian strikes targeting power plants and other civilian infrastructure," WSJ writes.

The WSJ emphasises that the US does not have a defence treaty with Israel that obligates them to assist, but Israel has enjoyed special relations with the US as America's closest partner in the Middle East for decades. The Congressional Research Service states that Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign aid since World War II.

After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine over two years ago, some supporters of Kyiv proposed adopting a Western defence relationship model similar to Israel's, but this concept did not materialise. This was partly because it would entail a certain level of commitment that no major Western state has yet demonstrated.

The WSJ writes that the Biden administration's policy towards Ukraine over the past two years has been shaped by concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin may resort to nuclear weapons or other forms of mass destruction if the US or other NATO members provide Kyiv with means to inflict serious damage on Russian troops or the country itself. Nuclear threats have also emanated from Putin himself.

The WSJ recalls that Iran has advanced its nuclear programme to the point where it could produce enough nuclear fuel for a bomb within a few days, but American officials claim it is not actively pursuing nuclear weapons. Security analysts believe it is far from being used against Israel or US allies, unlike Russia, which possesses the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

"Biden has been spooked by Putin’s constant nuclear threats. We behave as if we’re not a nuclear superpower too," said former US Ambassador Herbst.

Concerns about Russia's reaction have led the US, Germany, and some other NATO members to spend weeks or months deciding on providing lethal systems such as mobile launcher units like HIMARS, ATACMS missiles, and F-16 fighter jets of American production. Delaying aid decisions has reduced their effectiveness, as it has given Russia time to prepare.

Ukraine urgently needs air defence capabilities such as Patriot missile batteries of American production.

Last week, Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stated that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had requested seven Patriot batteries. Borrell said Western militaries have about 100 Patriot batteries.

"And still we are not able to provide the seven they are asking desperately for," he said with frustration.

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