The saying “To kill two birds with one stone” means to achieve two outcomes with a single action. That saying comes to mind at news that the United States has sent over one million rounds of ammunition seized from Iran to Ukrainian armed forces. First, the seizure itself means the Iranian regime’s original nefarious aim for its smuggled ammunition was thwarted. Second, Iran has been sending drones to help Russia kill Ukrainians; now Iranian munitions can help defend Ukrainians from Russia.
The United States announced the transfer of the ammunition cache to Ukraine in early October. In a written statement, the Justice Department noted that the cache was seized in December 2022 by U.S. Central Command naval forces from a flagless vessel in the Arabian Sea en route from Iran and destined for Yemen, where sanctioned groups, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, directly support the Houthis, in violation of Security Council Resolution 2216. The U.S. obtained ownership of the munitions in July 2023 through the Justice Department’s civil forfeiture claims against the IRGC.
“With this weapons transfer, the Justice Department’s forfeiture actions against one authoritarian regime are now directly supporting the Ukrainian people’s fight against another authoritarian regime,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement.
The United States has been clear that it will do all that is necessary to help Ukraine succeed on the battlefield and protect its people from Russia’s brutal invasion. On October 11, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new package of military aid, providing $200 million worth of arms authorized under previously directed drawdowns for Ukraine.
“Russia started this war and could end it at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and stopping its brutal attacks,” declared Secretary Blinken in a written statement. “Until it does, the United States and the coalition we have built of more than 50 nations will continue to stand with Ukraine and work with Congress to advance our national security interests by helping Ukraine secure its future – a future which its people rebuild and live safely in a resilient and thriving democracy.”