While maintaining that it could provide both, the Department of Defense acknowledged this week that it now needs to return to Israel some of the weaponry it had shipped from its stockpiles to Europe for Ukraine.
At the Pentagon news briefing, a senior military official informed reporters, “We removed 155 shells out of the Israeli stockpile for our forces in European Command and we will be returning them to Israel for their utilization.”
In January, the Pentagon first admitted that it used its stored 155 mm artillery shells in Israel to send them to Ukraine for its land war with Russia.
The stockpile is for both U.S. and Israeli troops in the area, in case of an emergency like the October 7 Hamas terrorist strikes. After those strikes by terrorists, the US sent more weapons to Israel by air.
The New York Times said that last winter, “half” of the shells that Israel had stored were sent to Europe.
Now, though, the Pentagon is saying that some of these weapons are being sent back because Israel is getting ready to attack Hamas on the ground in the Gaza Strip.
Regarding the quantity being returned to Israel, Pentagon representatives were evasive, stating that “a large portion” of the supplies shipped to Europe had been “redirected and delivered to Israeli forces.” As of this past week, Axios said that “tens of thousands” of 155mm shells were currently being given back to Israel.
The source from the Pentagon further stated that the U.S. is looking at its stocks “globally” to determine what it can quickly send to Israel and Ukraine.
“The U.S. can walk as well as chew gum at the exact same time,” the source said.
“So we will keep making sure that Ukraine possesses what it needs to protect its borders. Besides that, we’re making sure Israel has what it needs. In these two very different work settings, there are different levels of need and input. And we’re still putting both of them first.”
But Army chiefs have already said in public that they are worried about meeting the needs of both Israel and Ukraine.
As Breitbart News reported earlier, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth stated earlier in the month that it was going to be hard to make more guns and cover the cost of them without more money from Congress. She stated:
“One thing that I think is extremely significant in terms of these weapons specifically, and our capability to assist both possibly the Israelis as well as the Ukrainians at the same time, is further funding from Congress in order to be in a position to increase our capabilities in terms of our capacity to boost production and then to cover the costs for the weapons themselves.”
Experts and government leaders say that Israel and Ukraine require different weapons, but in their own wars, both need 155mm gun shells.