The US is considering providing Ukraine with thousands of suspected Iranian weapons and ammunition seized while being delivered to Iran-backed fighters in Yemen.
US defense officials are looking at sending more than 5,000 assault rifles and 1.6 million rounds of small arms ammunition to help Kyiv counter Russia’s aggression, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
They are also planning to transfer a small number of anti-tank missiles and more than 7,000 proximity fuses seized in recent months from alleged Iranian smugglers.
The plan to send confiscated weapons to Ukraine is considered an “unusual move” to open up a new supply of firepower for the war-torn nation.
It comes as the US and its allies struggle to meet Kyiv’s need for more military support as the war is set to enter its second year.
Seizures in the Gulf of Oman
The US and its allies regularly conduct counter-smuggling operations in the Gulf of Oman to prevent the flow of weapons and military equipment from Iran to Yemen.
It is part of the Combined Maritime Forces initiative of 34 member nations to promote security, stability, and prosperity across 3.2 million square miles (8.2 million square kilometers) of international waters.
In December last year, US forces captured more than 1 million rounds of 7.62-millimeter ammunition and 2,100 kilograms (4,629 pounds) of propellant for rocket-propelled grenades.
As usual, most of them are shiny T56-1, but we also see hundreds of VEPR VPO-158N-06 (AKS20U), which are civilian carbines made by Molot of Russia. pic.twitter.com/eVpLdocymd
— Cᴀʟɪʙʀᴇ Oʙsᴄᴜʀᴀ (@CalibreObscura) January 10, 2023
Washington also confiscated 25,000 rounds of 12.7-millimeter ammunition and 7,000 proximity fuses for rockets.
A month after the first interdiction, French forces took control of more than 3,000 suspected Iranian-made assault rifles, 578,000 rounds of ammunition, and 23 advanced anti-tank guided missiles.
‘A Good Move’
A recent report by The War Zone suggested that handing over the seized weapons and ammunition to Ukraine would “make good sense” from a logistical standpoint.
Despite the influx of Western weapons and equipment, the Ukrainian military still relies heavily on Soviet-era designs.
The suspected Iranian-made items seized in the Gulf of Oman are similar to those already in service with the army, making them easy to begin using immediately after delivery.