The United States has sent Ukraine more than one million rounds of previously seized Iranian ammunition, according to the US military.
The US Central Command on Wednesday said the ammunition was confiscated last year from a vessel it accused of shipping weapons from Iran to the Houthi rebel group in Yemen.
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“The US government transferred approximately 1.1 million 7.62mm rounds to the Ukrainian armed forces” on Monday, the military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement, adding that it had “obtained ownership of these munitions on July 20, 2023, through the Department of Justice’s civil forfeiture claims”.
The decision came amid high tensions between Tehran and Washington, with Iran’s support for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine and the Houthi rebel group in Yemen being the points of contention.
The shipment is unlikely to make a large difference in Ukraine’s efforts on the battlefield, with long-range weapons and air defence systems larger priorities for the Eastern European nation fighting to expel Russian forces.
Military assistance from the US has played a vital role in that effort, but conservative members of the US Republican Party have pledged to clamp down on further funds.
Critics of assistance to Ukraine in both the US and Europe are gaining steam, raising questions on the durability of Western support in the war against Russia.
In Slovakia, a presidential candidate who promised “not a single round” of assistance to Ukraine won the country’s presidential election over the weekend.
Assistance to Ukraine also emerged as a flashpoint amid efforts in the US Congress to pass a short-term spending package over the last week in order to avert a government shutdown, with additional support stripped from the final bill.
It is unclear if the leadership of the Republican Party, which holds a majority in the House of Representatives, will be able to amass the support necessary to move forward with future aid packages.
The Pentagon on Tuesday said previously approved assistance allows the US to maintain current levels of support to Ukraine for a “little bit longer” but that congressional approval for new spending will be necessary to do so in the long term.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, the US has offered more than $43bn in military assistance, comprising more than half of all international support.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies