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US expands use of seas to send more weapons to Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian gunners prepare to fire with a BM-27 Uragan, a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher, at a position near a frontline in Donetsk region on August 27, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

The United States has significantly expanded shipping weapons to Ukraine by sea, in an effort to transfer enormous amounts of cargo to the country at once, says a report.

Citing US defense officials, the Washington Post reported on Saturday that the Pentagon began using the sea routes for some of the items a few weeks after the war began in Ukraine in late February.

The American maritime operation, it said, was “significantly broadened” later in spring when Washington began sending howitzers and other heavy weapons, which require a lot of large-caliber ammunition.

“Once we started to provide them howitzers, we knew that we were going to need more ammunition,” said Army Col. Steven Putthoff, the deputy director of operations at US Transportation Command.

“So, we could plan ahead a little bit more, and then we could start to use more sealift to provide that support and to get it there, sometimes even ahead of the request,” he added.

The Pentagon mainly relied on cargo planes to send ‘lethal aid’ to Ukraine at the start of the Russian military operation in the neighboring country.

While aircraft can reach Europe from the United States much more quickly, ships can haul vast quantities of cargo at once. This would allow Kiev to build up a larger arsenal for future campaigns in the war.

Ukraine has been involved in a war with Russia since President Vladimir Putin declared the campaign on February 24. The Russian president said the campaign was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Ever since, the United States and its Western allies have been providing Kiev with military aid, including at least 16 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

President Joe Biden’s administration has approved $12.9 billion of military assistance for Ukraine since war began.

The administration also pledged an additional $2.98 billion of support Wednesday.

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