Israeli-made Gaia Amir MRAP armored vehicles were claimed to have been spotted near Kherson in service of the Ukrainian army, according to unconfirmed reports and photos published on social media on Friday.
No official Israeli or Ukranian confirmation has been made regarding the vehicles and Israel has previously stated that it will not supply military aid to Ukraine.
The images and videos of the armored vehicles were published on the day when Ukraine regained control of Kherson, with the Russian military retreating to the left bank of the Dnipro river. Considering the vehicle was allegedly seen near Kherson, it likely had some part in Ukraine’s retaking of the city.
“To make today even more notable – for the first time ever Ukrainian forces were spotted using Israeli-made military vehicles! Here we see an Israeli GAIA Amir MRAP, currently deployed in #Kherson Oblast,” Twitter account “Ukraine Weapons Tracker” said on Friday.
The Gaia Amir MRAP, based on a commercial Ford F550 chassis with independent suspension, is a multi-purpose 4×4 mine-protected armored vehicle that can carry up to 12 people, according to Gaia’s official website.
The vehicle is designed to be used for reconnaissance, transportation of the wounded and supplying logistical needs to the frontlines.
Israel previously stated that due to “operational restrictions,” it could not transfer weapons to Ukraine, but has repeatedly supplied the wartorn country with humanitarian aid and even early warning systems.
Officials in Ukraine have previously stated that Iran’s aid to Moscow during the war should convince Israel to abandon its position of withholding military aid to Kyiv, according to Maariv.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Kornychuk said that he met with the US ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, and asked him to try and convince Israel to provide military support to Kyiv in an attempt to put further pressure on the Biden administration to intervene on Ukraine’s behalf.
“Relations with Israel have progressed in recent weeks on several technical issues related to defense. Including advanced warning systems that help warn of missile attacks,” Kornychuk said.
“Relations with Israel have progressed in recent weeks on several technical issues related to defense. Including advanced warning systems that help warn of missile attacks,”Yevgen Kornychuk
Ukraine looks to Israeli model for defense industry improvements
Ukraine’s Defence Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, told Reuters on Thursday that Ukraine was looking at making NATO-caliber Ukrainian artillery and needed to manufacture drone jamming capabilities and its own air, underwater and land drones, which he called “the future of war on the planet.”
Ukraine, he said, was already in the process of making an “army of drones” to resist Russia’s invasion, in which Moscow has unleashed waves of Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones to hit vital Ukrainian infrastructure in recent weeks.
“We are trying to be like Israel – more independent during the next years,” he said in an interview in the heavily-guarded government district in central Kyiv on November 10.
“I think the best answer (can be seen) in Israel … developing their national industry for their armed forces. It made them independent.”
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