US Shores Up Support For Ukraine With A Million Rounds Of Iranian Ammunition
The US has supplied Ukraine with more than a million 7.62 mm rounds of Iranian ammunition seized in the Gulf on December 9, 2022, with Attorney General Merrick Garland stressing on Wednesday: “We will continue to use every legal authority at our disposal” to support Kyiv.
The transfer of the ordnance followed a civil forfeiture case pursued by the US Department of Justice to gain ownership on the grounds that the bullets were seized as they were being smuggled to the Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi forces in violation of a UN arms embargo.
The Justice Department is also claiming forfeiture of confiscated weapons from other seized caches, including some 194 rocket launchers, 284 machine guns, 9,000 assault rifles and more than 70 anti-tank guided missiles.
“Bottom Of The Barrel Is Now Visible”
The supply of confiscated Iranian weapons to Ukraine has come at a time of growing concern in the West over its continued capacity to back the Kyiv government in its fight against Russian aggression. The Ukraine war has been raging since February last year.
According to Dutch Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer: “The bottom of the barrel is now visible.” Concerns over arming Ukraine have deepened in the past few days amid the abrupt removal of Kevin McCarthy from his role as US House Speaker.
McCarthy’s Ousting Amid Depleting Supplies
The ousting of McCarthy is a first in US history, marking an end to a short tenure for the California Republican. The former speaker had to leave just days after working with House Democrats to pass a stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown.
There was a catch, however. The short-term bill would cut out aid for Ukraine, adding further uncertainty to the outlook for US assistance to the war-ravaged nation. Washington has helped Kyiv with over $113 billion in aid since Russian forces marched into Ukraine in 2022.
After support for Ukraine was excluded from the stopgap funding bill, US President Joe Biden was left to depend on McCarthy for a separate deal. Leaders in the Senate have promised to take up legislation in the coming weeks to ensure continued US assistance for Kyiv.