The Ukrainian military is set to receive the unusual looking mitznefet military helmet cover, also known as the "clown hat," from the Israeli defense force, according to a report Tuesday from pro-Russian news site Sputnik. The supply of Israeli equipment to the Ukrainian military comes at a diplomatically sensitive time and is thought to be in response to Russia's decision to arm Iran, Israel's mortal enemy, with the advanced S-300 missile defense system.
Iran made the deal with Russia in 2007 but U.S.-led sanctions saw the contract delayed in 2010. During the Iranian nuclear negotiations in July this year, Russia decided to resurrect the S-300 deal saying that Iran deserved the missile system for its willingness to continue what were long and drawn out negotiations. While the missile system has not been delivered yet, Israel's willingness to help Ukraine in the Donbas conflict could damage Israel and Russia's strong diplomatic relations, according to a Times of Israel report.
Despite the ridicule over the helmet cover, which looks like a combination of a chef's hat and a shower cap, it has been proven to save lives. The flopping and excess fabric is designed to disguise the distinct round shape of a military helmet and prevent light reflecting off the helmet's surface.
— CASYD (@CASYD_) July 20, 2014
While the IDF introduced the helmet cover more than 20 years ago, no other militaries currently use that design. U.S. snipers, for example, use the boonie-style helmet that has leaves and branches on it.
The Ukrainian military is set to receive an initial 20 mitznefet covers which are likely to be given to soldiers and snipers operating on the front lines.
The Ukrainian government has been increasingly calling for Western militaries to provide troops with lethal aid so it can counteract Russian-backed rebels. However, no country has dared to arm Ukraine, fearing that doing so will propel the 17-month conflict spiral out of control. In March, U.S. President Barack Obama rejected a bill from the Senate that overwhelmingly supported providing U.S. weapons to Ukraine. Reports at the time suggested German leader Angela Merkel was a deciding factor in Obama's decision.
The war in Ukraine has killed more than 7,000 people since it began in April 2014.