The Pentagon is using huge but little-known US military depots located in Israel to supply Ukraine with ammunition, the New York Times reported, based on US and Israeli sources. It is from these warehouses that 300,000 missiles will go to Ukraine.
U.S. arms and ammunition depots in Israel serve the needs of the U.S. military in the Middle East. In crisis situations, they are also used by the Israeli army.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that “the US and Israeli authorities have reached an agreement to transfer 300,000 155mm artillery shells stored there to Kiev.” The daily reported that US and Israeli officials told the newspaper that about half of them had already been transported to Europe, from where they would be shipped to Ukraine. Previously, it had not been reported that US ammunition from warehouses in Israel was being sent to Ukraine.
Artillery plays a key role in war in Ukraineboth sides fire thousands of missiles every day, and the outcome of the conflict may depend on who runs out of ammunition first, reminds the New York daily.
Ukraine lacks missiles for the post-Soviet artillery it used before, and therefore currently uses mainly guns donated to it by Western countries. Its defense therefore depends on supplies of ammunition from the West, mainly from the USA.
According to the newspaper, based on estimates by Western officials, “Ukraine uses about 90,000 missiles a month, twice as much as the combined production of the US and Western countries.” The rest of the ammunition needed comes from stocks or is bought on the open market.
To meet Ukrainian needs United States they reached for missiles stored in two large warehouses of the American army – in Israel and South Korea. Deliveries from these directions are crucial for Ukraine, adds the American daily.
– To date, the US has sent or committed to provide Ukraine with more than one million 155mm rounds. A large portion of these shipments, but still less than half, come from warehouses in Israel and South Korea, a high-ranking US official told the New York Times on condition of anonymity.
The use of US stockpiles in these two strategically located countries demonstrates the limitations of the US defense industry, the newspaper commented. It was noted that the matter is also diplomatically sensitive, as both Israel and South Korea have refused to give Ukraine lethal weapons, and both countries are important allies of the United States.
The “NYT” reminded that Israel has consistently refused to send arms to Ukraine, fearing a reaction from Russia, which may retaliate by limiting Israeli strikes against Iranian forces stationed there, including the Lebanese Hezbollah.
“U.S. promised Israel it would quickly replenish stocks”
The issue of the transfer of ammunition from American stockpiles was finally agreed by the US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin and his then Israeli counterpart Beni Gantz, but earlier the decision was accepted by the Israeli government, which he still headed Yair Lapid the journal reported. A spokesman for the Israeli army confirmed to the New York Times that “certain equipment” had been moved from storage at the request of the American side.
Cooperation with South Korea on this matter was more efficient than with Israel, but the authorities in Seoul did not want the ammunition to be transferred directly to Ukraine, so it will replace other American supplies that will go to the war, the daily clarified. It was recalled that in the fall, the US ordered 100,000 155 mm rounds from South Korea, which will eventually be delivered to Ukraine.
The New York Times noted that the transfer of ammunition from warehouses to Ukraine is a temporary solution until the American industry is able to meet current needs. “Even during the war in Ukraine, the level of strategic stockpiles must not fall to a dangerous level.”
Pentagon spokesman General Patrick Ryder did not comment on the findings of the “NYT”, saying in a sent statement that for security reasons “he will not discuss the locations or units supplying equipment and materials” to Ukraine.
Main photo source: SERGEY KOZLOV/EPA/PAP