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US considering sending seized Houthi weapons to Ukraine: report

The crew of the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), seized an illicit shipment of advanced weapons intended for the Houthis in Yemen, Feb. 9, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman)
February 16, 2023

The US is considering sending to Ukraine seized weapons originally bound for Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

US officials are pondering sending “more than 5,000 assault rifles, 1.6 million rounds of small arms ammunition, a small number of antitank missiles, and more than 7,000 proximity fuses,” the WSJ report said.

The step will bolster Kyiv’s military in defending itself against a renewed Russian offensive as the war in Ukraine prepares to enter a second year.

Currently, the UN arms embargo requires that seized weapons be destroyed or stored but President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing if the law has enough wiggle room for the arms to be transferred to Ukraine, the report said.

The weapons were seized in recent months as part of a global effort to prevent Iran from supplying its proxies inside Yemen, the report said. The debate about how to use the seized weapons began late last year when the US Navy captured millions of rounds of ammunition on a fishing boat off the coast of Yemen.

The Houthis seized the capital of Yemen in 2014 and have been locked in a war with the internationally recognized government and its allies ever since.

The move would also allow the US, a key Ukraine ally, to hit back at Tehran, which has been accused of supporting Russia’s war effort by supplying Moscow with drones, which have been used against civilian targets in Ukraine.


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