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USA. Weapons from smugglers suspected of working for Tehran may end up in Ukraine

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The US authorities are considering sending Ukraine thousands of weapons and more than a million rounds of ammunition seized in recent months off the coast of Yemen from smugglers suspected of working for the Tehran authorities. According to the Wall Street Journal, the equipment was to be delivered to Iranian-backed militants fighting in Yemen. Currently, White House lawyers are to look for legal solutions that would enable the transfer of weapons to Kiev.

There is talk of sending to Ukraine more than 5,000 assault rifles, 1.6 million rounds of ammunition, a small number of armor-piercing rounds and more than 7,000 proximity fuses seized off the coast of Yemen in recent months from smugglers cooperating with Iran. It would be an unprecedented step that would help Kiev in its fight against Russian forces, the “WSJ” reports.

War in Ukraine consumes a huge amount of ammunition and depletes allies’ supplies, NATO’s secretary general said on Monday Jens Stoltenberg. – The current rate of Ukraine’s spending on ammunition is many times higher than our rate of production. This puts a strain on our defense industry, he added.

Ukrainian soldiersPAP/Vladyslav Karpovych

White House lawyers are looking for legal solutions

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A challenge for the presidential administration Joe Biden is to find a legal justification for transferring arms from one conflict to another. The UN arms embargo on Yemen requires the US and its allies to destroy, store or dispose of seized weapons. Biden administration lawyers are examining whether the resolution creates any leeway for transferring arms to Ukraine, the newspaper reports.

Jonathan Lord of the American think tank Center for a New American Security, a supporter of handing over arms to Ukrainians, said that there is support for this concept in Washington across party lines.

On Tuesday, the day before the publication of the “WSJ” text, the “Washington Post” published an opinion of Jonathan Lord and Andrea Kendall-Taylor recommending the West to send confiscated Iranian weapons to Ukraine. At a press conference that day, State Department spokesman Ned Price was asked about the proposal. “I won’t comment on this particular proposal, but I will say that we have shown what I would call extraordinary ingenuity in finding ways to support our Ukrainian partners,” Price replied.

The civil war in Yemen has been raging since 2015 shutterstock

The weapons were supposed to go to Yemeni rebels

The weapons and ammunition reported by the US media have been seized in recent months by the US and France as part of efforts focused on preventing Iran from smuggling weapons into Yemen.

Weapons for the Houthi rebels have been under a UN embargo since the outbreak of the civil war in Yemen. While Iran denies arming the rebels, Western experts say it is shipping rifles, grenades, rockets and other weapons to them by sea, the WSJ writes.

Reputed to be the poorest country in Asia, Yemen has been mired in civil war since 2014, when the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa and much of the north of the country. The government fled south and then to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition that included them United Arab Emirates and which was backed by the US at the time, launched an intervention in Yemen a few months later.

The civil war in Yemen PAP

Main photo source: PAP/Vladyslav Karpovych

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