Ukrainian arms market: arms supplied to Ukraine from abroad raise fears of smuggling to distant conflicts and terrorist groups

The foreign supply of missiles, rockets and artillery to war-torn Ukraine has raised fears that the weapons will enter the illicit Ukrainian arms market and their subsequent smuggling and that some of them may also reappear in distant conflicts in the coming decades.

Arms smuggling from Ukraine is becoming a headache for both EU states and, interestingly, Israel. Ukraine has a history of illegal arms trade, the most prominent case being that of the MV Faina, a Ukrainian freighter that was caught smuggling tanks, artillery and AKM assault rifles to Sudan in 2009. The incident came to light when the ship was captured. by Somali pirates.

Several cases have been reported on social media where Western weapons crossed the Ukrainian border and reached Europe. However, this is not always their final destination.

It is quite possible that these weapons can be found in any part of the world. Such opportunities attract those who cannot legally acquire military equipment – ISIS, Hayat and other terrorist groups

To combat this threat, the EU is creating a hub in Moldova to combat arms smuggling into Ukraine. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson announced the creation of the EU Support Platform for Internal Security and Border Management at a meeting of EU interior ministers. The Prague meeting focused on the threat of weapons – many supplied by the West – smuggling out of Ukraine to equip criminal gangs in Europe.

The platform will be a one-stop-shop for Europol to share information and for the European border guard agency Frontex to support border management and the prevention of arms smuggling.

Weapons sent to Ukraine will end up in the global hidden economy and in the hands of criminals, the Interpol chief said. Jürgen Stock claimed that after the end of the conflict, many firearms and heavy weapons would flood the international market and he urged Interpol member states, especially those supplying weapons, to cooperate on weapons tracing .

“The overflow of international military aid to Ukraine is turning into a ticking time bomb. Combined with a complete lack of control by Western and Ukrainian authorities, it has provided a seemingly endless supply of advanced weaponry for black markets around the world. As the saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished,” and support for Ukraine will inevitably backfire where least expected,” according to a recent article in Eurasia Review.

“The proliferation of modern weapons in Syria, a country that hosts many international terrorist groups, poses a great threat to the security of the region, especially its neighboring states. Opposition factions are unlikely to use the weapons themselves, but instead seek to resell them for a handsome profit. Syrian Kurds might be interested in anti-tank missiles to repel the Turkish offensive, while pro-Iranian militants will be more than happy to use the weapons to target Israel. Weapons may even be smuggled into Gaza, and the Israeli military could be in for a nasty surprise in future raids into the Palestinian enclave. Meanwhile, the Israeli security services have not yet made a statement about it,” according to the article titled “Arms smuggling from Ukraine, a new concern for Israel.”

“The Israeli government may wish to take a closer look at the arms smuggling issue and its policy towards Ukraine. If Tel Aviv does not push Western states to establish more robust arms control procedures, these modern weapons will soon be positioned on Israel’s borders, destined for its cities and ultimately used against its citizens. It will become much more difficult to maintain security and stability, which will increase the number and intensity of attacks. This time, the EU and the US will not be able to provide assistance, as they are heavily involved in Ukraine and are not inclined to restrict the flow of arms despite its repercussions.


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