US transfers weapons to Ukraine from Israel

The stockpile of weapons and ammunition is normally reserved for the U.S. to use in Middle East conflicts. Washington said it would replenish the supplies.


The Pentagon is dipping into a store of American ammunition in Israel to help Ukraine replenish its dwindling supply of artillery shells, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

“With stockpiles in the United States strained and American arms makers not 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,” the Times reported, citing Israeli and American officials.

While intended for U.S. military use in the Middle East, Israel is permitted to access the stockpile during emergencies.

“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,” the Times reported.

Ukraine has largely expended its Soviet-era munitions and switched over to artillery donated by the U.S. and other western powers.

Israeli officials said that Israel hasn’t changed its policy of only providing Ukraine with humanitarian aid.

“Based on a U.S. request, certain equipment was transferred to the U.S. D.O.D. [Department of Defense] from its stockpiles” in Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement.

Read  Amid tensions, Netanyahu and Zelensky to meet on sidelines of the UN

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin raised the issue of a weapons transfer during a call with then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz. The Israeli cabinet deliberated on the request, and voted to recommend Israel comply, so as not to alienate the Biden administration. Then-Prime Minister Yair Lapid accepted the cabinet’s recommendation and approved the request.

Under the agreement, the Pentagon will transfer some 300,000 155-millimeter artillery shells from its storage facilities in Israel to Ukraine.

Tuesday’s report cited two senior Israeli officials who said that the U.S. has pledged to Israel that it will replenish the munitions stores in Israel and vowed to rapidly ship ammunition should Israel find itself in a military emergency.

World Israel News contributed to this report.