Israel had refused a US request to allow Germany to supply Ukraine with Israeli-developed Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), US and Israeli officials told Axios on May 25.
The request was made by US Undersecretary of Defense for policy, Colin Kahl, during a meeting with Amir Eshel, director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, in Washington early on in May. According to Axios, Eshel denied the request. The senior officer explained that due to concerns that there would be Russian casualties from Israeli-made weapons, Israel will only supply Ukraine with non-lethal military equipment.
Recently, Israel became more critical of the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine and began providing non-lethal military equipment to Kiev forces. The shift was likely the result of pressure by the US.
The Spike ATGMs in question were produced in Germany with Israeli technology under an Israeli license. According to the license, Israel must approve any transfer of the missiles to a third party.
The German-made Spike ATGM, codenamed MELLS by the Bundeswehr, is a copy of the Israeli Spike-LR. The first generation of the infrared homing missile has a range of four kilometers and is armed with a tandem high-explosive anti-tank warhead.
The Spike ATGM offers nothing new from Western-made anti-tank missiles already supplied to Kiev forces, like the US-made FGM-148 Javelin. The US likely wanted to transfer the German missiles to Ukraine because it can’t provide as much of its own ATGMs as before.
Israel understands that Russia can respond to the supply of Israeli lethal weapons to Ukraine. Russia could arm Syria with advanced weapons, step up military cooperation with Iran or even ship Western-made weapons captured from Kiev forces to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Hamas Movement in the Gaza Strip.
According to recent reports, during an Israeli attack on Syria on May 13 Russian-controlled S-300 air-defense systems opened fire at Israeli fighter jets. The alleged incident was seen as a warning by Moscow to Tel Aviv.