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The US has sent approximately 1.1 million bullets seized from Iran last year to Ukraine, according to the US Central Command (Centcom). The rounds were confiscated from a ship bound for Yemen in December. Ukraine’s Western allies have warned that their production lines are struggling to keep up with the rate at which Ukraine is using ammunition. The Iranian rounds were transferred to Ukraine on Monday and were 7.62mm calibre used in Soviet-era rifles and light machine-guns. The US has already provided more than 200 million bullets and grenades to Ukraine.
Iran supports the Houthi rebels in Yemen’s ongoing civil war, but arms transfers to the group are barred under a 2015 resolution by the UN Security Council. The civil war in Yemen began in 2014 when the Houthis took control of the capital Sanaa and removed the country’s government. Since the second half of last year, Iran has repeatedly been accused of supplying Russia with arms, most notably drones, for use in the war in Ukraine.
The transfer of Iranian ammunition comes amid rising concern among Western allies over their continued ability to arm Kyiv. Adm Rob Bauer, chairman of Nato’s military committee, said that decades of underinvestment meant that Nato countries’ ammunition stocks had been half-full or even emptier. UK Defence Minister James Heappey urged Nato allies to spend 2% of their national income on defense.