Just ahead of President Biden’s speech where he made the case for the US keeping up funding for both for Ukraine and Israel, a report issued by Axios said that Washington was preparing to divert ammunition meant for Kiev to the Israelis.
Journalist Barak Ravid wrote that three Israeli officials with knowledge of the situation told Axios “The Pentagon plans to send Israel tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells that had been destined for Ukraine from U.S. emergency stocks several months ago”
This is yet another blow to Zelensky as popular support for funding Kiev has also been waning in Europe.
InfoWars reports: These 155mm artillery shells, which Ukraine has been badly in need of given Russian artillery supplies have been steady and far superior, will be shipped “in the coming weeks” instead to Israel in order to fill the depleted emergency stocks the US keeps there.
Under a long-standing bilateral agreement, the Pentagon stores ammunition on Israeli soil. While it belongs to and is overseen by the US military, part of the agreement is that Israel’s Armed Forces (IDF) can access it under US approval in a war scenario.
Starting at some point in late 2022, these emergency stockpiles of artillery shells held in Israel began being sent to Ukraine. But now, with the Gaza war entering full swing, Israel will get the extra supplies instead.
This move without doubt is yet another blow to the Zelensky government, which has retreated from the media spotlight ever since the Hamas terror attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7. International press has focused on 24/7 Israel-Gaza coverage. A key part of Ukraine’s strategy of keeping up constant support, which has included tens of billions in aid flowing in from the West, has been to keep Zelensky and the Ukrainian cause center stage in terms of global awareness. Now those days appear over.
Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder sought to defend the move, stressing “we can support both Ukraine and Israel in terms of their defensive needs,” in line with other top US officials.
“We are engaged in comprehensive coordination across the Department of Defense,” an unnamed US defense official had told Axios. “This includes working closely with our combatant commands to ascertain which munitions and equipment from the U.S. inventory can be quickly made available for Israel’s needs.”
Biden’s Thursday night speech sought to continue the theme, which had also been laid out earlier this month by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Biden also said that both Putin and Hamas want “annihilation”. According to a summary of Biden’s main points:
Biden said he will ask Congress on Friday to authorize more spending for the Ukraine war and “unprecedented” military aid for Israel. Media reports say the request will be for about $100 billion and will also include aid for Taiwan, which China will view as highly provocative, and funding for border security.
About $60 billion is expected to be for Ukraine as the White House wants to pass a spending package on the war that will last through the 2024 election. Israel is set to receive about $10 billion in military aid, and the rest will go toward the border, Taiwan, and potentially other areas in the Asia Pacific.
In his speech, President Biden attempted to draw comparisons between Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: they both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy, completely annihilate it,” he said.
But no matter Biden’s superficial attempts to draw comparisons between the two conflicts and how it’s somehow America’s ‘duty’ to jump into supporting both wars, Ukraine is clearly no longer the number one priority for US defense planners.