Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Arkadi Mil-Man served as Israeli ambassador to Russia between 2003 and 2006. He is currently a senior researcher and head of the Russia Program at the Institute for National Security Studies. As a top expert on national security and foreign policy, he speaks exclusively to Kyiv Post on what a drone attack last night – believed to have been carried out by Israel – on Russian ally Iran might mean for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

First off – Why would Israel decide to strike Iran last night, on Jan. 28? Early news reports indicate that weapons stockpiles, drone manufacturing sites and oil depots were hit. What do you make of this?

We do not know if it was in fact Israel behind the explosions. Importantly, Israel never takes responsibility for such actions. Maybe it is – maybe it isn’t.


Actions like this are good for the free world – for the U.S., for Israel, for everyone. Frankly, that is why I think this explosion came from Western countries, not Israel. Perhaps even domestic Iranian opposition groups.

Russia has been highly reliant on Iranian drones and other technologies. Do you believe that the decision to attack was related to this?

We do not know for sure if a drone factory was destroyed. We know that it held shells for artillery. But it’s possible that it held drones, hence being a target for attack.

How will this strike affect Russia’s ability to wage war against Ukraine?

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I do not believe it will directly affect Russia’s ability to wage war. Iran has lots of weapons and drones and I do not see that these explosions will significantly change Iranian supplies to Russia.

Over the past week, there was an Israeli anti-terrorist raid in the Palestinian city of Jenin, and a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. How do you see things playing out?

This is a [fresh] wave of Arab terror against Israelis… The situation is complicated and it’s a real crisis. The government must take certain measures and we will see what happens in the next two or three weeks as the situation is critical and problematic.


Will there be more violence because of these strikes on Iran? 

Yes, of course! The Iranians are always planning violent attacks on Western countries and against Israel. In their world view, there is no other option. We can expect the violence to continue.

This is the logic of their regime: violence against Israel and violence against their own citizens.

Many of the countries on the scene (i.e. Iran, Israel, Syria, Russia, Ukraine, NATO states, etc.) have conflicting or divergent interests. How will this all turn out? World War III? Or Russia’s quicker demise?

I do not think that we are on the eve of World War III, although the situation is a real crisis. NATO countries are seeking to avoid being directly involved in the Russo-Ukrainian War.

However, if Russia were to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, I am confident there would be World War III.


Because it is a "game changer" – because NATO and the U.S. would be forced to react. They would not allow the situation to continue to get out of control.

And then what would happen?


It would be a total disaster for Russia.

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