According to New York Times, an anonymous senior Israeli defense official revealed that Moscow had shifted some of its armaments and troops from Syria, extracting one of the main constraints on Israeli military action in the Middle Eastern state.
There were varying estimates of how many military units were relocated, ranging from 1,200 to 1,600 soldiers and possibly far more.
As per Israeli officials, this indicates that Russia has become less involved in overseeing operations in Syria as attention shifts to the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia first moved its S-300 air-defense system to Syria in 2018 to help Syria counter Israeli air strikes targeting Iranian-allied armed groups like Hezbollah.
According to officials, now that Moscow has removed this system, Israel may alter its policy regarding Ukraine.
But despite repeated Ukrainian requests, during a briefing on Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told European ambassadors that Jerusalem would not provide arms to Ukraine despite Russia’s attacks on civilian targets using Iranian-made drones due to the presence of a Russian Air Defense system.
The minister underlined that Israel “has a policy of supporting Ukraine via humanitarian aid” and defensive equipment.
Meanwhile, Gantz is slated to speak with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov on Thursday.