The Defense Department admitted on Monday that it had to send some of the weapons it had sent from its stockpiles in Europe to Ukraine back to Israel despite maintaining that it could supply both.
“We withdrew 155 [shells] from the stockpile in Israel for our forces in [European Command] and now we are sending that back to Israel for their use,” a senior defense official said during a Pentagon press conference.
The Pentagon first acknowledged in January that it had dipped into its stockpile in Israel to send Ukraine 155 mm artillery shells for its ground conflict with Russia.
The stockpile is for use by American forces in the area as well as by Israeli forces in emergencies like the response to the terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7. In the aftermath of those terrorist attacks, the U.S. flew more weapons to the Jewish state.
According to the New York Times, last winter, “half” of the Israeli stockpile of shells was sent to Europe.
However, as Israel gets ready for a ground invasion in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, the Pentagon is now acknowledging that some of those weapons are being sent back.
Axios reported last week that the number of 155mm shells being sent back to Israel was in the “tens of thousands,” although Pentagon officials were vague about the quantity being sent back to Israel, saying that “much” of what was sent to Europe has been “redirected and provided to Israeli forces.”
The Pentagon official added that the United States is “globally” evaluating its stockpiles to determine what could be easily supplied to the two countries.
“The United States can walk and chew gum at the same time,” the official said, adding:
“So we’re going to continue to ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend its territory. And at the same time we’re ensuring that Israel has what it needs. Two very different operational environments with different levels of need and consultation. And we’re continuing to prioritize both.”
Leaders of the Army have, nevertheless, already voiced open reservations about their ability to satisfy demands from both countries.
As previously reported by Breitbart News, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth stated earlier this month that it would be challenging to increase weapons production and pay for them without additional funding from Congress. She said:
“One thing that is really important in terms of the munitions in particular, and our ability to support both potentially the Israelis and the Ukrainians simultaneously, is additional funding from Congress to be able to increase our capacity, in terms of our capacity to expand production and then to also pay for the munitions themselves.”
Despite assertions from experts and officials to the contrary, the two countries require 155mm artillery shells for their respective conflicts.
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