US Arms Ukraine With Weapons From Top Russian Ally

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The United States has delivered over 5,000 firearms and hundreds of thousands of rounds to Ukraine's military after obtaining the weapons from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

According to U.S. Central Command, over 5,000 AK-47s, machine guns, sniper rifles and RPG-7s were sent to the Ukrainian armed forces last week, alongside 500,000 rounds of ammunition. The equipment is enough to arm one Ukrainian brigade, read a post to X, formerly Twitter from Central Command, who added that the "weapons will help Ukraine defend against Russia's invasion."


The U.S. government originally obtained ownership of the weapons on December 1, 2023, through civil forfeiture claims against the IRGC. Central Command said in its statement that the munitions were "originally seized by U.S. Central Command and partner naval forces from four separate transiting stateless vessels" between May 2021 and February 2023.


"The munitions were being transferred from the IRGC to the Houthis in Yemen in violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216," the statement continued. The resolution, which was adopted by the Council in 2015, imposed a targeted arms embargo against a number of entities and individuals in order to "protect Yemen and its people from the continuing aggression by the Houthis."

The war in Ukraine has become tied to the conflicts in the Middle East thanks to Russia's partnership with Iran, which has boosted Moscow's drones and ammunition supplies since the start of the war in February 2022. Iran's government is also aligned with several militias operating in the Middle East region, including the Palestinian group Hamas which is currently at war with Israel.


Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have also heightened following an Israeli attack on Tehran's consulates in Syria, which killed several Iranian personnel last week.


U.S. Central Command said in its statement on Monday that it is "committed to working with our allies and partners to counter the flow of Iranian lethal aid in the region by all lawful means including U.S. and U.N. sanctions and through interdictions."

"Iran's support for armed groups threatens international and regional security, our forces, diplomatic personnel, and citizens in the region, as well as those of our partners," it continued. "We will continue to do whatever we can to shed light on and stop Iran's destabilizing activities."

Newsweek reached out to Ukraine's Ministry of Defense for further comment.


Washington's support for Kyiv has taken a hit in recent months as House Republicans push back on President Joe Biden's requests for additional military aid. House Speaker Mike Johnson indicated last week that he will soon put forth a $95 billion foreign aid package that includes assistance for Ukraine and Israel, although the GOP leader is facing talks of ousting from some hard-liners in his party.

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