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Axios: Pentagon to send Israel shells initially earmarked for Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller October 19, 2023 11:06 PM 1 min read
Shells are stored at the workshop of the "Forges de Tarbes," which produces 155mm shells, the munition for French Caesar artillery, in Tarbes, southwestern France, on April 4, 2023. Caesar self-propelled howitzers are being actively used on Ukraine's front line. (Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)
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The Pentagon is set to deliver 155mm artillery shells to Israel that it had originally designated to be sent to Ukraine, unnamed Israeli officials told Axios on Oct. 19.

At the beginning of 2023, 155mm shells in one of the U.S.'s emergency stockpiles located in Israel, began to be transferred to Ukraine, Axios reported previously.

Although the stockpile is located in Israel, it still belongs to the U.S., and can be used by Israel only with express permission from the U.S., specifically in times of war. Previously, the stockpile was accessed by Israel during its 2014 war in Gaza.

At the time the shells from the stockpile began to be transferred to Ukraine, Israeli officials did not think they would need access to the emergency supplies.

However, the situation has fundamentally changed after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, and subsequent plans for a likely ground invasion of Gaza. In addition, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have been skirmishing with Hezbollah forces by the Lebanese border- both operations that will require access to more artillery shells.

The 155mm shells are NATO standard and used in a variety of Western weapons systems that have been delivered to Ukraine.

U.S. officials have emphasized in recent days that the new focus on helping long-time ally Israel does not mean a decrease in support for Ukraine.

On Oct. 11, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, "We firmly reject the notion that the United States of America cannot at once support the freedom-loving people of Ukraine and support the State of Israel."

Several days later, on Oct. 15, Sullivan said that the U.S. was preparing a funding package of at least $2 billion for Israel, which would include military aid for Ukraine.

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