Ukraine has run low on munitions for its Soviet-era weaponry and has largely shifted to firing artillery and rounds donated by the United States and other Western allies. Pentagon in this case has turned to two alternative supplies of shells to bridge the gap: one in South Korea and the one in Israel, which use in the Ukraine war has not been previously reported, reveals “The New York Times”.
The shipment of hundreds of thousands of artillery shells from the two stockpiles to help sustain Ukraine’s war effort is a story about the limits of America’s industrial base and the diplomatic sensitivities of two vital U.S. allies that have publicly committed not to send lethal military aid to Ukraine.
The Pentagon is tapping into a vast but little-known stockpile of American ammunition in Israel to help meet Ukraine’s dire need for artillery shells in the war with Russia, American and Israeli officials say. That stockpile provides arms and ammunition for the Pentagon to use in Middle East conflicts.
Israel has consistently refused to supply weapons to Ukraine out of fear of damaging relations with Moscow and initially expressed concerns about appearing complicit in arming Ukraine if the Pentagon drew its munitions from the stockpile.
Israel has imposed a near-total embargo on selling weapons to Ukraine, fearing that Russia might retaliate by using its forces in Syria to limit Israeli airstrikes aimed at Iranian and Hezbollah forces there.
But finally about half of the 300,000 rounds destined for Ukraine have already been shipped to Europe and will eventually be delivered through Poland, Israeli and American officials said.
The Ukrainian army uses about 90,000 artillery rounds a month, about twice the rate they are being manufactured by the United States and European countries combined, U.S. and Western officials say. The rest must come from other sources, including existing stockpiles or commercial sales.
“Based on a U.S. request, certain equipment was transferred to the U.S. D.O.D. from its stockpiles” in Israel, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement, referring to the Department of Defense.
The stockpile of American military hardware and munitions in Israel has its origins in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, which saw the United States airlifting weapons to resupply Israeli forces.
The South Koreans were more willing than the Israelis to work with the United States on using the stocks, a senior U.S. official said. But they also objected to shipping artillery shells directly to Ukraine, though for different reasons, the official said. The South Korean government did not want artillery rounds marked R.O.K. (Republic of Korea) showing up in Ukraine in violation of South Korean arms export rules.
A compromise was reached. Artillery shells from the Korean stockpile would be sent to replenish American stocks elsewhere.
The United States has also agreed to buy 100,000 new artillery shells from South Korea, a deal previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Burkina Faso: Former colony orders French troops to leave
Burkina Faso has demanded the withdrawal of French troops stationed on the territory of the West African nation, local media reported, citing a government decision. Relations between Paris and its former colony have been on a downward spiral for months now, with the local population blaming France for their security problems.
Agence d’Information du Burkina (AIB) reported that the government of Burkina Faso had suspended a 2018 agreement with France, which regulated the deployment of its service members in the country. Paris now has one month to remove its soldiers, the agency said.
France currently has 400 troops in the African country, who are stationed there as part of efforts to combat Islamist terrorist groups in the region.
In November 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron officially announced the end of anti-insurgent ‘Operation Barkhane’ in the Sahel region, which has been largely viewed as a failure. In doing so, France also vowed to “reduce the exposure and visibility of [its] military forces in Africa.”
The Sahel is a region in northern Africa that includes Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, and a number of other neighboring countries.
Paris ended another military mission in neighboring Mali last August after relations went sour, with the government calling France’s military involvement “not satisfactory.”
Hundreds of people protested in the Burkina Faso’ capital Ouagadougou against the French military presence, chanting anti-French slogans.
Mohamed Sinon, one of the main leaders of the collective that called the demonstration, said it was to show support for junta leader Traore and the security forces fighting jihadists. “We are a pan-African movement and we want cooperation between Burkina Faso and Russia, but also the strengthening of friendship and of cooperation with Guinea and Mali,” he added.
Protesters carried huge posters showing the presidents of Mali and Guinea — both of whom also came to power in coups — as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A source close to the government clarified it was “not the severance of relations with France. The notification only concerns military cooperation agreements”.
Sources familiar with the matter told AFP that France’s preferred option would be to redeploy its forces in the south of neighbouring Niger, where nearly 2,000 French soldiers are already stationed.
French troops withdrew from Mali last year after a 2020 coup in the former French colony saw its rulers also inch closer to Russia.
The importance of Iran’s membership in the SCO
The members of Majlis (the Parliament) have approved the emergency of the plan of Iran’s commitments to achieve the position of a member state in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), – informs IRNA from Tehran.
The emergency plan was endorsed with 161 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions.
Ali Adyani, the deputy vice president for parliamentary affairs, said that the plan was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was endorsed by the cabinet members, and sent to parliament to become law.
According to the official, Iran’s membership in the SCO is of great importance in terms of economic, social, and international affairs particularly because the opportunity would help the Islamic Republic get rid of illegal sanctions and enhance economic diplomacy.
Iran has been an observer of the SCO since 2005. Then, President Ebrahim Raisi called for full membership of the Islamic country in the organization in its last summer summit in Tajikistan.
The legislators have accepted to speed up scrutinizing the plan. Earlier, the Iranian parliament had endorsed the plan of accession of the Islamic Republic to the SCO.
Sabah: ‘The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine’
The US is repeating the same mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now – in Ukraine. So it seems inevitable that Washington will face another setback as a result of its ideological obsession, – writes prominent Turkish observer Bercan Tutar at “Sabah” newspaper.
Having suffered a complete failure in the Middle East wars, the Americans sent to Ukraine not only their ineffective weapons, but also their inadequate thoughts and strategies. But no matter what they do, their chances of defeating Russia are very slim.
The 330th day of the war, which began on February 24, 2022, has already been completed. After a short retreat, Russia began redeployment. However, the fact that Russia abandoned the siege of Kyiv and focused on control over Russian-speaking regions led Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and the United States to false conclusions.
Encouraged by Russia’s cautious military actions, the United States applied its strategy in the war on terrorism in Ukraine and. According to American experts, the current US administration is following the deadly tracks of previous military propaganda in Ukraine, which proved unsuccessful in Afghanistan and Iraq.
While Russia is pursuing a military strategy that prioritizes its political goals, we see that the US is lacking in both military and political leadership. As soon as the war in Ukraine began, the first goal of the US was to rally its NATO allies against the Russian invasion. It was a smart strategy and it worked.
However, when the US reached the first target, a further one only increased its expectations. Russia was asked to leave not only Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass), but also Crimea. Even further, the United States began to voice maximalist demands, such as regime change in Moscow. But it is absolutely clear that these demands can arise only in conditions of a total world war.
As a result, American fantasies lead Washington to attempt strategic suicide. The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine.
Russian leader Putin said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the blockade of Leningrad: “We tolerated it for a long time and tried to come to an agreement. As it has recently turned out, they were messing around with us; they were lying to us. This was not the first time this has happened to us. Yet we did everything in our power to settle the problem peacefully. It has become obvious now that it was an inherently impossible mission; the enemy was only preparing to bring this conflict to the hot phase. As I have said, there was no other way than to do what we are doing now.”
In short, some geopolitical officials in the US have dragged Zelensky into a ‘no-win war’ against a nuclear-armed Russia.
Now the world is focused on two options:
– either the US and its allies will perform a ‘miracle’ in Ukraine;
– or the Russians will crush Ukraine and then break the back of the NATO alliance.
Thus, the US strategic position in Europe will come to an end and a new world order will be born, perhaps with several centers of power outside of America.
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