US to divert artillery shells for Ukraine to Israel for Gaza war: Report

Washingtin will give Israel tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells that were originally set aside for Ukraine, Axios has reported. The Israeli military reportedly told the Pentagon that it needed the shells to prepare for a ground invasion of Gaza.

The US maintains a stockpile of ammunition at a facility in Israel, which only US forces have access to. Earlier this year, the US began taking shells from this facility and another stockpile in South Korea in order to meet Ukraine’s massive demand for ammo.

Israeli officials told the news site that the US will now be refilling this stockpile with ammunition from its own stocks that had been earmarked for Ukraine, at the direct request of the Israeli government.

The officials stated that the shells will arrive in Israel in the coming weeks.

The report comes a day after US President Joe Biden visited Israel. After Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, the latter said that the US president had promised him a “massive, unprecedented” package of military aid.

It is unclear from his statement whether the Israeli PM was referring to the artillery shells.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas erupted at a crucial time for Ukraine. With its summer counteroffensive over having achieved only minimal gains at an enormous human cost, Kiev is currently lobbying European nations that can’t manufacture the arms it needs, while American officials are reportedly preoccupied with rushing weapons to Israel.

“We need some support from the leaders,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said during an impromptu visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels last week.

“It’s important there are long-distance missiles, or long-distance weapons … The problem: How to get it?”

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has insisted that Washington can afford to fight two foreign wars.

However, funds allocated to Ukraine by Congress are drying up, and President Biden is now reportedly trying to convince an increasingly Ukraine-skeptic Republican Party to okay $60 billion in military and economic aid for Kiev by tying it to a $10 billion package for Israel, which the GOP would traditionally be more amenable to supporting.

Israel has not yet made heavy use of artillery in its war against Hamas, opting instead to pound Gaza with airstrikes while artillery and tanks engage in sporadic exchanges of fire with Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon and the Golan Heights.

However, Israeli troops are currently massed along the Gaza border in preparation for a ground operation, which Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday would take place “soon”.

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