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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

U.S. sends Ukraine seized Iranian-made weapons

By Alex Horton Washington Post

The Pentagon has provided Ukraine with thousands of Iranian-made weapons seized before they could reach Houthi militants in Yemen, U.S. officials said Tuesday. It’s the Biden administration’s latest infusion of emergency military support for Kyiv while a multibillion-dollar aid package remains stalled in the Republican-led House.

The weapons include 5,000 Kalashnikov rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, along with a half-million rounds of ammunition. They were seized from four “stateless vessels” between 2021 and 2023 and made available for transfer to Ukraine through a Justice Department civil forfeiture program targeting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East.

Officials said Iran intended to supply the weapons to the Houthis, who have staged a months-long assault on commercial and military vessels transiting off the Arabian Peninsula. Central Command said the cache is enough to supply rifles to an entire Ukrainian brigade, which vary in size but typically include a few thousand soldiers.

The inventory list does not include artillery ammunition, which is among Ukraine’s most dire battlefield needs.

The circuitous supply of weapons to Kyiv comes as Russian forces mount an aggressive push, backed by devastating glide bombs, to capture more ground in eastern Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his country’s military, faced with depleting ammunition stocks, is “trying to find some way not to retreat.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who has refused to hold a vote on a Senate-approved national security package that also includes aid for U.S.-ally Israel, is expected to introduce a plan for additional Ukraine aid later this month. But he has not said when the House might vote on it.

The new batch of weapons provided to Ukraine were inspected and deemed safe and in working condition, said a U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the transfer process. Ukrainian troops have in the past voiced frustration over the condition of some U.S.- and Western-provided weapons, which are often from older warehouse stocks.


Abigail Hauslohner contributed to this report.