Yana Stavskaya08:08, 01/18/23
The Pentagon also turned to South Korea with a request to transfer ammunition from American stocks to Ukraine.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine use about 90,000 shells per month, which is approximately twice the volume of their production in the United States and European countries. Washington turned to Israel with a request to transfer shells from American warehouses to Ukraine while the US industry increases their production.
Israeli officials expressed concern about the Pentagon’s proposal, but still agreed to provide Kyiv with about 300,000 155mm shells, in part because the ammunition was American property.
Israeli officials said Israel has not changed its policy of not supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons, but rather has aligned itself with America’s decision to use its own munitions as it sees fit.
Israel’s stockpile of US military equipment and ammunition dates back to the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, when the United States airlifted weapons to resupply Israeli forces.
After the war, the US set up warehouses in Israel so they could be relied upon if they hit a crisis again. A strategic memo signed by the two countries in the 1980s paved the way for the “advanced deployment” of Pentagon assets in Israel, according to two former US officials and a former senior Israeli military officer with direct knowledge of the agreement.
Last year, the Pentagon also asked South Korea to transfer munitions from American stockpiles to Ukraine.
According to a senior US official, the South Koreans were more willing than the Israelis to cooperate with the United States in exploiting the reserves. But they also objected to shipping the shells directly to Ukraine, albeit for different reasons, the official said. The South Korean government did not want ROK (Republic of Korea)-marked artillery shells to appear in Ukraine in violation of South Korean arms export regulations.
A compromise was reached: artillery shells from Korean stocks would be sent to replenish American stocks elsewhere.