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The U.S. and its European allies are concerned that weapons meant for the Ukrainian Armed Forces may be ending up on the black market in Europe and the Middle East.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Ukraine had received more than 28,000 tons of military cargo so far, and some of the Western weapons were appearing in the Middle East. Tracking the weapons has been a challenge for the U.S. and its allies.
Shoiga said, “In the hope of prolonging the conflict in Ukraine, the collective West is continuing large-scale arms supplies to the Kyiv regime. According to information at our disposal, some of the foreign weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine are spreading across the Middle Eastern region and are also ending up on the black market.”
Since the Russia/Ukraine conflict began, Western countries have given more than $10 billion in military support. This includes supplies of ammunition, armored personnel carriers, and MLRS missile systems from NATO states.
Specifics on this black market pipeline have not been provided, but videos like the one below have been surfacing across the internet. The video reportedly shows Ukrainian soldiers illegally selling American and British weapons.
Javelin, NLAW and AT4 launchers are for sale by Ukrainian arms dealers. Ukrainian generals and soldiers are underpaid and sell US and UK weapons on the black market. Every wannabe terrorist can now destroy civilian aircraft and kill hundreds for just $20k. pic.twitter.com/aYIJiu0DdT
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) July 14, 2022
The US and other nations say they have been working with Ukraine to develop a more in-depth monitoring system to track weapons shipments entering the country.
According to The Financial Times, an anonymous source inside a Western government said, “All these weapons land in southern Poland, get shipped to the border and then are just divided up into vehicles to cross: trucks, vans, sometimes private cars. And from that moment we go blank on their location and we have no idea where they go, where they are used or even if they stay in the country.”
Bonnie Denise Jenkins, who serves as the US undersecretary for arms control and international security, said that this is just one of many considerations that need to be taken into account.
Some officials have indicated that there may not be anything the West can do to prevent these weapons from falling into the wrong hands. Jana Černochová, the Czech Republic’s defense minister, said, “It’s hard to avoid trafficking or smuggling — we didn’t achieve it in former Yugoslavia and probably won’t avoid it in Ukraine.”