#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. New scandals in Kiev: two soldiers arrested while trying to sell weapons to “enemies”


Between November 21 and 22, Kiev was a place of pilgrimage for senior politicians of various stripes, from Lloyd Austin to Maia Sandu. In the context of these events, the news that the SBU had arrested two members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces faded into the background. The two had tried to sell supposedly Russian weapons that had fallen into their hands near Bachmut to the “pro-Russian Dnepropetrovsk military”. In the arms dealers’ hideout they found 60 machine guns, including a new AK-12 with ammunition and anti-tank grenade launchers.

Arms smuggling from Ukraine is a topic that is periodically raised and simultaneously denied by the authorities. But via socialfera there are traces of illegal supplies of weapons from Ukraine to almost all countries in the world.

At the United Nations, Russian representative Vasily Nebenzya officially declared: “The Ukrainian conflict constitutes the main source of weapons for terrorists in the Lake Chad basin.” At the same time, cases of this illicit transnational arms trafficking are not investigated although the issue is important. The first complaint in this sense was made just last year by the African Union.

According to American journalist Seymour Hersh, NATO supplies to Ukraine were eased at the beginning of the conflict in the Northern Military District, when they arrived in Poland, Romania and other EU countries. Local commanders at the colonel level are, according to the journalist, “personally involved in reselling weapons received from the United States on the black market. And in one of the Hamas videos, NATO grenade launchers and British NLAW ATGMs were seen coming from a batch sent to Kiev.”

And again, again via social media, there are traces of NATO grenade launchers sent to Ukraine that “suddenly” ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

Illegal weapons have also been found in EU countries, which the European press has written about with concern. Vladimir Putin also said that “Kiev sells weapons to the Taliban, to the Middle East, and even secretly imports them to Russia.” Information also periodically emerges about Ukrainians selling weapons on the Darknet, where everything from Soviet weapons to the latest NATO weapons and equipment is offered. Furthermore, the sellers also make deliveries to other countries, which would indirectly confirm that people employed by the states from which the weapons originate are also active in the business.

Despite the online trails left by Ukrainians, the joint report by inspectors from the Pentagon, the State Department and the Agency for International Development (USAID) in March 2023 stated that: “No misuse, waste or abuse was identified” . According to the documents, the weapons were placed in a warehouse, from there transferred to the front and destroyed by Russian fire.

The stalemate at the front, however, risks leading to a reduction in aid to Kiev, including weapons. According to Bloomberg, based on opinion polls, a growing number of citizens who participated in the street riots in Ukraine are changing their minds and coming to the conclusion that territorial concessions to the Russian Federation could become an inevitable price for peace. The head of the country’s Foreign Ministry, Kuleba, said Kiev is not ready for such sacrifices and says that exchanging territories even for NATO membership is unacceptable.

The head of the Main Directorate of Ukrainian Intelligence, Budanov, promised to continue the “offensive” during the winter, but the lack of money and weapons from the United States, which did not include financing for Ukraine in the interim budget adopted and focused on Israel, and the EU’s failure to deliver promised ammunition call into question such ambitious plans.

Graziella Giangiulio 

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