The US military is considering sending Ukraine thousands of seized rifles and ammunition once bound for Iran-backed Yemeni rebels, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
US officials said they are looking at sending Ukraine more than 5,000 assault rifles, 1.6 million rounds of small arms ammunition, a small number of antitank missiles, and more than 7,000 proximity fuses seized in recent months off the Yemen coast from smugglers suspected of working for Iran, according to the report.
“The unusual move would open up a new supply of firepower America and its allies could tap into as they struggle to meet Ukraine’s need for military support as its war with Russia enters its second year,” the WSJ wrote.
“The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions and depleting allied stockpiles,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday, on the eve of an alliance meeting. “The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production. This puts our defense industries under strain.”
The US had announced two arms seizures this year from vessels traveling in the Sea of Oman, on a route often used to carry arms from Iran to Yemen. There were also arms seizures last year. The two consignments captured this year yielded more than 5,000 AK-47 assault rifles.
Iran has been supplying kamikaze and possibly larger drones to Russia since mid- 2022 that have been used against infrastructure targets in Ukraine. The West has warned Iran to seize arms supplies to Russia, expressing serious concern.