Pentagon Sends U.S. Arms Stored in Israel to Ukraine

Pentagon Sends U.S. Arms Stored in Israel to Ukraine
# 18 January 2023 11:00 (UTC +04:00)

The Pentagon is tapping into a vast but little-known stockpile of American ammunition in Israel to help meet Ukraine’s dire need for artillery shells in the war with Russia, American and Israeli officials say, APA reports citing New York Times.

The stockpile provides arms and ammunition for the Pentagon to use in Middle East conflicts. The United States has also allowed Israel to access the supplies in emergencies.

The Ukraine conflict has become an artillery-driven war of attrition, with each side lobbing thousands of shells every day. Ukraine has run low on munitions for its Soviet-era wweaponary and has largely shifted to firing artillery and rounds donated by the United States and other Western allies.

Artillery constitutes the backbone of ground combat firepower for both Ukraine and Russia, and the war’s outcome may hinge on which side runs out of ammunition first, military analysts say. With stockpiles in the United States strained and American arms makersnot yet able to keep up with the pace of Ukraine’s battlefield operations, the Pentagon has turned to two alternative supplies of shells to bridge the gap: one in South Korea and the one in Israel, whose use in the Ukraine war has not been previously reported.

The shipment of hundreds of thousands of artillery shells from the two stockpiles to help sustain Ukraine’s war effort is a story about the limits of America’s industrial base and the diplomatic sensitivities of two vital U.S. allies that have publicly committed not to send lethal military aid to Ukraine.

Israel has consistently refused to supply weapons to Ukraine out of fear of damaging relations with Moscow and initially expressed concerns about appearing complicit in arming Ukraine if the Pentagon drew its munitions from the stockpile. About half of the 300,000 rounds destined for Ukraine have already been shipped to Europe and will eventually be delivered through Poland, Israeli and American officials said.

As senior defense and military officials from dozens of nations, including NATO states, prepare to meet at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday to discuss sending Ukraine more tanks and other arms, U.S. officials have been scrambling behind the scenes to cobble together enough shells to keep Kyiv sufficiently supplied this year, including through an anticipated spring offensive.

“With the front line now mostly stationary, artillery has become the most important combat arm,” Mark F. Cancian, a former White House weapons strategist, said in a new study for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, where he is a senior adviser.

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