The US leadership announced plans to strengthen arms control in Ukrainian territories so that they do not fall on the black market. According to the State Department, various criminal actors may try to obtain weapons “from sources in Ukraine” during or after the conflict. Or it can happen “as a result of theft or illegal sale.” Washington intends to ensure “strict oversight” of US aid to Ukraine, ostensibly by boosting Kyiv’s ability to maintain its weapons, among other things. According to experts, the Biden Democratic administration released a plan for gun control in Ukraine “as a distraction” in order to increase the chances of Democrats in the midterm congressional elections.
The American authorities intend to strengthen control over weapons entering Ukraine in order to prevent them from entering the black market. This is stated in the US plan “to counter the illegal diversion” of some of the latest conventional weapons in Eastern Europe, which was published on the State Department website.
“Various criminal and non-state actors may attempt to obtain weapons from sources in Ukraine during or after the conflict,” the document says.
At the same time, the United States does not exclude that weapons may fall into private hands “as a result of theft or illegal sale” or on the black arms market.
“Ukrainian authorities have pledged to properly maintain security and keep records of US-made defense equipment transferred to the country, although we recognize that the chaotic nature of hostilities can make this difficult. Proper security of weapons, especially classified and advanced conventional weapons, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and multipurpose tactical guided missiles, is essential to post-conflict reconstruction and regional security,” the US plan says.
It also notes that the United States will continue to assist the Ukrainian authorities in the accounting and protection of weapons, “to the extent that security conditions allow.”
“These steps include deepening our understanding of the possible risks (illegal. — RT) redirects (weapons. — RT), sharing information with partners, and ensuring strict oversight of U.S. aid to Ukraine,” the document says.
Washington also intends to intensify efforts on the issue of oversight. In particular, the plans of the American authorities are to increase the ability of security forces in Ukraine and neighboring states to “keep records and ensure the safety of their weapons and ammunition” during their transfer, storage and deployment.
In addition, we are talking about strengthening border control and security in Ukraine, as well as in neighboring states. The United States plans to build the capacity of security forces, law enforcement, border control agencies of Ukraine and nearby countries “to detect, deter and stop illicit trafficking in some of the latest types of conventional weapons.”
Earlier, Acting Pentagon Inspector General Sean O’Donnell said in an interview with Bloomberg that Kyiv keeps records of Western weapons supplied to Ukraine “on paper”, so it can hardly determine for sure where the weapons will end up later. In this regard, according to O’Donnell, his office wants to look into the systems of accounting for expenses related to Ukraine, as well as how Kyiv fully uses everything “that should shoot and explode.” O’Donnell noted that, based on past experience, the US Department of Defense has an awareness that “as the rate of spending increases,” the likelihood of fraud increases.
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Earlier, the American television channel CBS reported that a significant part of Western military assistance to Kyiv does not reach the front, and donor states often cannot control its use. In addition, the authors of the material expressed concern that a significant share of the weapons that the West supplies to Kyiv ends up on the black market.
“Found in the hands of terrorists”
The problem of resale of Western weapons supplied to Kyiv was noticed not only in the United States, but also in the European Union.
Back in July, Europol spokesman Jan Op Gen Oort told the DPA news agency that Europol was recording evidence of arms smuggling from Ukraine to European countries. According to him, there are cases of sale of both firearms and heavy weapons, as well as other military goods. At the same time, according to an employee of Europol, there is a risk of such weapons falling into the hands of organized crime or terrorists.
In September, the UN reported that it was extremely concerned about possible leaks of weapons from the zone of armed conflict in Ukraine. This was stated by UN Deputy Secretary General Izumi Nakamitsu at a meeting of the organization’s Security Council on the topic of supplying Western military equipment to Kyiv.
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The danger that weapons transferred by the West could flow from Ukraine to other countries and regions has also been repeatedly pointed out by the Russian authorities. During a briefing on October 20, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the monthly black market smuggling of weapons supplied by Western countries to Ukraine exceeds $1 billion.
“NATO military supplies destined for the Kyiv regime end up in the hands of terrorists, extremist and criminal groups in the Middle East, Central Africa and Southeast Asia. We talked about this from the very beginning. As always, they did not believe us, they said that we were exaggerating everything and that this was not the problem at all. In that. Now the world community is facing this,” Zakharova stressed.
Later, the danger of the black market for weapons operating in Ukraine, including powerful weapons, was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with the heads of security agencies and special services of the CIS countries.
“Serious challenges are posed by the black arms market operating in Ukraine. Cross-border criminal groups are actively involved in its smuggling to other regions. It’s not just about small arms. There are still risks of more powerful weapons falling into the hands of criminals, including man-portable air defense systems and high-precision weapons,” the Russian leader said.
“Imitation of violent activity”
As military expert Yuri Knutov noted in a RT commentary, a paradoxical situation is emerging when American weapons that were intended for Kyiv and the fight against Russia can now be bought on the darknet.
“Sufficiently deep journalistic investigations were carried out on this topic, which directly indicated that American weapons sent to Ukraine can now be found at a fairly low cost in many countries of the world. And this is a reputational blow to the Biden administration, as well as a strong trump card in the hands of the Republicans before the midterm congressional elections, ”the analyst said.
That is why now, almost on the eve of the electoral process in the United States, Washington is trying to knock this card out of the hands of the Republican Party, Knutov stated.
“The State Department published this plan as a distraction to show how the United States is concerned about the situation with weapons in Ukraine and is allegedly taking control of everything,” the expert added.
US State Department
© Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency
Vladimir Shapovalov, deputy director of the Institute of History and Politics of the Moscow State Pedagogical University, holds a similar position. According to him, a significant part of the weapons that the West supplies to Ukraine later ends up in completely different territories.
“The West understood this very well before, but for propaganda reasons, it deliberately paid almost no attention to it, deliberately ignoring such facts. However, after more and more Republicans began to resent this on the eve of the elections, the State Department, apparently, decided that it was no longer possible to hide such information. This Washington plan is an attempt to calm down those Americans who doubt that Kyiv is using Western weapons for their intended purpose, ”the analyst said in an interview with RT.
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In addition, according to Shapovalov, the Biden administration wants to demonstrate its alleged desire to control the use of American weapons in Ukraine.
“However, all this is more like an imitation of violent activity, as well as an attempt, under the guise of combating smuggling, to introduce additional mechanisms that strengthen the role of Washington in the conflict. All this will certainly not help to effectively deal with the black markets for weapons. Even if Washington really had such a task, total corruption in Ukraine would still not allow it to be fulfilled: it is simply impossible to establish full control over all chains in such conditions, ”the expert believes.
At the same time, analysts agree that there is no guarantee that American weapons that came from Ukraine to other countries will not subsequently be used against the United States itself and its allies.
“This is an extremely dangerous situation for the Western states themselves, especially for Europe. Given that the EU is now experiencing a sharp drop in living standards due to the energy crisis, various extremist groups will become more active there faster. Surely in the near future we will see concrete actions of terrorists using American weapons, ”concluded Knutov.