The United States has sent approximately 1.1 million rounds of ammunition, seized from Iran last year, to Ukraine, as confirmed by the US Central Command, which oversees Middle East operations.
These rounds were confiscated from a ship en route to Yemen in December and were reportedly transferred to Ukraine on Monday.
The ammunition consists of 7.62mm caliber rounds used in Soviet-era rifles and light machine guns.
The US naval forces originally confiscated it from a stateless ship named MARWAN 1 on December 9th, 2022.
They took ownership of these rounds in July through a legal process known as civil forfeiture, which allows assets to be seized when their owners are suspected of criminal activity.
In this case, the claim was filed against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian armed forces.
Admiral Rob Bauer, chair of NATO’s Military Committee, emphasized the urgency of this ammunition supply during a discussion at the Warsaw Security Forum.
He stated, “The just-in-time, just-enough economy we built together in 30 years in our liberal economies is fine for a lot of things – but not the armed forces when there is a war ongoing.” He called for increased production to meet the growing demand for ammunition.
The US has already provided more than 200 million bullets and grenades to the Ukrainian army, underscoring its commitment to Ukraine’s defense.
UK Defense Minister James Heappey urged NATO allies to meet the 2% national income spending target on defense, a goal only 11 out of 31 member nations are expected to achieve this year.
This ammunition transfer is critical when the Biden administration seeks alternative ways to assist Ukraine due to funding limitations.
Although officials have warned that current allocations for Ukraine are nearly depleted, opposition from some members of the Republican party in Congress has hindered additional funding approval.
Recent developments, including the vote to unseat House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, are likely to delay any vote on additional aid further.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of the previous year, the US has sent over 300 million rounds of small arms, ammunition, and grenades, contributing to the nearly $44 billion in military aid provided to Ukraine.
In a statement, US Attorney General Merrick Garland affirmed the US commitment: “With this weapons transfer, the Justice Department’s forfeiture actions against one authoritarian regime are now directly supporting the Ukrainian people’s fight against another authoritarian regime.”
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