The United States has transferred American ammunition stored in Israel for use in Ukraine and plans to send more soon, US and Israeli officials told CNN on Wednesday.
A US official told CNN they had misplaced “some” of the 300,000 155mm shells that the US and Israel had agreed to transfer and that there were plans to move the remaining quantity in the coming weeks.
Israel Defense Forces spokesman Richard Hecht told CNN that the Americans informed the Israelis some time ago that they were transferring ammunition. Hecht said the munitions were owned by the US, their movements were “American business” and they did not need Israeli permission to move the munitions.
The New York Times first reported that the American military was tapping its stockpiles of ammunition stored in Israel for use in Ukraine, noting that Israeli officials had initially “expressed concerns about being complicit in arming Ukraine.”
Israel walked a fine diplomatic line during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While Israeli leaders have condemned the invasion, supported Ukraine at the United Nations, sent humanitarian aid and taken in refugees, Israel has taken a hard line in sending military aid, citing its own security sensitivities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before taking office in late December that he would review Israel’s policy on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The stress on arms stockpiles – and the ability of the US industrial base to keep up with demand – is one of the biggest challenges facing the Biden administration as the US continues to send billions of dollars in arms to Ukraine to aid in its fight against Russia . CNN previously reported that a US official said stockpiles of certain systems were “dwindling” after months of shipping supplies to Kyiv during the high-intensity war as there is a “finite amount” of excess supplies available to the US .
CNN reported in November that the US intended to buy 100,000 rounds of artillery ammunition from South Korean arms manufacturers to make available to Ukraine as part of a broader effort to find available weapons for the high-intensity fighting unfolding in Ukraine.