A group of Israeli researchers says an Israeli minister's gift to a visiting Russian delegation has undermined groundbreaking agricultural research.

Researchers from the Volcani Center for farming research say Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel was unauthorized to hand over one of their research drones to Russian Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev during a recent visit.

One of the researchers, Moshe Reuveni, says Wednesday that Ariel violated protocol by giving away technology worth about $100,000 and severely damaging their research. Reuveni says they will hand over a separate operating system if ordered to, but that it would sabotage their entire drone program.

Critics of Ariel's spontaneous gesture said the drone in question could also contain sensitive security information.

Ariel's office says the move posed no security risk.