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US not to shoot down Iranian drones in Ukraine unlike it did in Israel

John Kirby believes there is a difference in conflicts, airspace, and “threat picture” between Israel and Ukraine
John Kirby, White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator
John Kirby on the White House Press Briefing 15/04/2024, Source: Screenshot from the press briefing video
US not to shoot down Iranian drones in Ukraine unlike it did in Israel

John Kirby, US White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator, said on 15 April that the United States has no plans to directly engage in shooting down Iranian kamikaze drones in Ukraine, as it did during the recent Iranian attack on Israel. 

The remarks come after the US and allies helped Israel reportedly repel  99% of drones and missiles during an Iranian attack on 14 April. This participation stood in stark contrast to the devastation to Ukraine’s power grid from a string of Russian missile and drone attacks this March-April amid a lack of air defense missiles caused by a delayed US aid package.  

During the White House press briefing on 15 April, when asked why the allies can assist in shooting down Iranian drones over Israel but not provide the same support in Ukraine,  Kirby said he knew this question would come up and explained:

“Different conflicts. Different airspace. Different threat picture. The president has been clear since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine that the United States is not going to be involved in that conflict in a combat role,” Kirby said.

Delayed US aid to Ukraine

He also stated that the United States has provided Ukraine with the necessary weapons to defend its airspace. However, Kirby noted that the US currently cannot fully support Ukraine in this regard due to the lack of National Security Supplemental funding, which he described as being “desperately” needed by the Ukrainians.

John Kirby suggested that the most effective solution would be ensuring that the Ukrainian military and the Israel Defence Forces receive the required aid that the Senate has already adopted. However, the Republicans have stalled this comprehensive $95 billion foreign aid package for over six months.

In the same press briefing, the White House reaffirmed its stance against passing a standalone aid bill for Israel unless it includes support for Ukraine. Earlier, US House Speaker Mike Johnson voiced his intention to address foreign aid by introducing four separate bills focusing on Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other national security priorities; however, this means further delay in Ukraine aid. 

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