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The War of Attrition: Soviet Involvement in the War of Attrition

(April 29, 1970)

In March 1970 the Soviet Union began to install in Egypt SA-3 missile batteries manned by Soviet personnel. In April it became known that Soviet pilots were flying operational missions from air bases in Egypt. On 29 April the Israel Government issued the following statement:

In the Soviet involvement in the Middle East there has been a grave development. In recent days it has become clear to the Government of Israel beyond any doubt that for the first time Soviet pilots are flying operational missions from military installations under their control in Egypt. The operational activity of the Soviet pilots has not extended so far to the cease-fire line, and they have not been involved in the air combats in this region.

In the month of March, the USSR began to install in Egypt SA-3 missile batteries manned by Soviet personnel. At that time the Government of Israel brought to the attention of international political factors the gravity of the political and military significance of this dangerous development. Now, there is the further step of Soviet operational participation at the side of Egypt in the military campaign which Egypt is waging against Israel. This involvement has already enabled Egypt to increase its aggressive acts against Israel.

The Government of Israel has brought to international attention the dangerous implications of this development. The escalation of Soviet involvement in Egypt must cause concern not only to Israel but to all freedom-loving peoples.

This latest development is a continuation of the policies of the Soviet Union and of its consistent identification with Egyptian aggression before the Six-Day War and since, in the following:

The delivery of vast quantities of Soviet arms of the Egyptian army in order to prepare it for renewed aggression.

The encouragement of Egypt to adhere to the "no's" of Khartoum.

Support given to Nasser's attempt to undermine the cease-fire line.

Identification with Nasser in his announced decision of May-June 1969 abrogating the cease-fire.

Support for the implementation of Nasser's declared war of attrition against Israel.

The encouragement of Egypt to reject the appeals by Israel and other political factors to reinstate the cease-fire as fixed by the Security Council in June 1967, without limitations of time or any other conditions.

A vicious anti-Israel propaganda campaign carried out in the Soviet Union in recent months.

The installation of SA-3 missiles manned by Soviet personnel and culminating with the activation of Soviet pilots in Egypt on operational missions.

Israel will continue to defend itself against all aggression which violates the ceasefire arrangements and which aims at renewal of war in the area. In all its struggles Israel drew strength from its unity and from the justice of its cause. Israel will continue in its firm stand and in its quest for true and lasting peace.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry