US Provides Thousands of Seized Rebel Weapons to Ukraine

( – The United States military carries out operations across the globe. The US Navy regularly patrols international waters and often seizes weapons and contraband that violate international law. Between 2021 and 2023, US Naval Forces Central Command interdicted four vessels headed from Iran to Yemen, seizing weapons onboard. Then, the Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture action, which was awarded on December 1. The US then decided those weapons served a better purpose: aiding Ukraine in the war against Russia.

According to an April 4 press release by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Public Affairs the US transferred the seized munitions to the Ukrainian armed forces. The haul included more than 5,000 AK-47s, sniper rifles, RPG-7s, machine guns, and more than half a million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition. After the seizure, the weapons were determined to be of Chinese, Russian, or Iranian origin. The boats they were taken from were flagless, meaning there was no origin country displayed on the vessels, which were traveling on the Arabian Sea.

In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the US “is both disrupting Iran’s destabilizing efforts and supporting Ukraine’s fight against” Russia. Matthew Olsen, the assistant attorney general for National Security, followed that up with “the [DOJ] is taking deadly weapons out of the hands of terrorists and putting them into the hands of Ukrainians” so they can fight off their aggressors.

This isn’t the first time that the US has sent confiscated munitions to Ukraine. It did so back in October, transferring more than 1.1 million rounds of ammunition. Like the aforementioned weapons, these were also confiscated while on the way to arm militant groups. It was deemed to be a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216.

The Arabian Sea is a main passageway for Iran to get weapons and other contraband to Yemen, where the Houthi Rebels continue to wreak havoc.

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