Thousands of Confiscated Iranian Weapons and Ammunition Handed Over to Ukraine by the US
The United States has delivered thousands of confiscated Iranian weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, which could help alleviate the shortages the Ukrainian army is facing as it awaits additional funding and equipment from the US and its allies, according to US officials cited by CNN.
The delivery was announced after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Kyiv is doing "everything" to ensure that the war-torn country receives more air defence systems over the next few months.
Currently, air defence capabilities play a crucial role not only in the Ukrainian counteroffensive but also in protecting civilians from Russian attacks.
"Our counteroffensive is ongoing, step by step, we are doing everything to repel the enemy. The challenge is the minefields, lack of ammunition, and anti-aircraft systems," emphasized the President of Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces have achieved some success in their southward advance as part of a gruelling counteroffensive to reclaim territory captured by Russia during its 19-month incursion into Ukraine.
Challenges during the Ukrainian counteroffensive include a shortage of ammunition and air defence systems.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) also reported that it has already transferred over one million seized Iranian munitions to the Ukrainian armed forces. The handover took place on Monday, as stated in a CENTCOM press release.
"The government took ownership of these munitions on July 20, 2023, through civil litigation by the US Department of Justice against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran," the statement said.
"These munitions were originally seized by US Central Command military forces from the stateless vessel MARWAN 1 on December 9, 2022. The munitions were being transferred from the IRGC to Houthi rebels in Yemen in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216," the statement added.
The US presidential administration had been deliberating for months on how to lawfully send the confiscated weapons to the Ukrainians, which were stored in CENTCOM facilities in the Middle East.
In January, the US Marine Corps assisted French troops in confiscating thousands of assault rifles and half a million rounds of ammunition bound from Iran to Yemen, where a civil war has been ongoing since 2015.
Over 3,000 assault rifles, 578,000 rounds of ammunition, and 23 anti-tank guided missiles were seized.