TEL AVIV, May 14 (RIA Novosti) – Israel has refused to allow a Russian missile ship to anchor at one of its ports to prevent straining relations with the United States in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis, Israel’s Haaretz daily reported Wednesday quoting a senior Israeli official.
“Israel strives to maintain neutrality in the big powers’ confrontation over Ukraine; pictures of a Russian warship at Israel’s main naval base would convey that Israel was siding with Moscow,” the paper's website said.
Russian representatives in Israel refused to comment on the statement.
According to the report, Russia’s request for a ship to dock at Haifa was denied about a month ago following discussions among senior Israeli officials.
“All opinions were negative and the request was denied,” the Haaretz daily reported.
The country’s security service claimed that if Russia’s ship docked at Haifa it could facilitate Russia’s spying activities in Israel, adding that a similar case last year was also evidence of Russian espionage.
About a year ago, Russia’s large landing ship Azov entered the Israeli port of Haifa to congratulate World War II veterans living in the country.
This year the Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov was expected to visit Haifa.
In recent months, the United States has been slamming Russia for its actions in Ukraine, which allegedly led to further escalation of the ongoing conflict. Many countries across the globe, siding with America, were quick to back its position on the issue. Israel, however, has preferred to stick to a more neutral stance on the Russia-Ukrainian crisis.