Last week, US Central Command disclosed that it had transferred a significant cache of military hardware to Ukraine, including a vast array of machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, and hundreds of thousands of ammunition rounds.

This move comes as a response to the pressing need for arms and ammunition Ukraine faces amidst its ongoing conflict with Russia. The shipment is deemed sufficient to fully arm a Ukrainian brigade, which typically comprises around 4,000 troops, with small arms aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defense capabilities against ongoing Russian aggression.

Thanks, Iran

The arms, initially intercepted by the US military and its allies from four distinct stateless vessels navigating international waters from May 22, 2021, to February 15, 2023, were only legally acquired by the US following a civil forfeiture process conducted by the Justice Department in December of the previous year, as per CENTCOM’s announcement.

Not the First Time

This initiative marks another instance of the US repurposing captured Iranian military supplies for Ukraine’s benefit, following a prior occasion in October when over a million rounds of Iranian-origin ammunition were allocated to the Ukrainian forces, as reported by CNN.

In the backdrop of this support, the US Navy has been active over the past year in intercepting shipments of Iranian assault rifles and ammunition. These operations, often in collaboration with regional partners, are part of efforts to curb the flow of arms from Iran to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, utilizing historically known smuggling routes.

The Biden administration has been navigating legal avenues to facilitate the transfer of these seized armaments, stored across CENTCOM facilities in the Middle East, to aid Ukraine in its defense efforts. This is despite legislative hurdles in securing additional funding for military support from Congress.