- Sputnik International, 1920
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Corrupt Dealings: Spanish Drug Gangs Armed With Black Market Weapons From Ukraine

© AFP 2023 / CHRISTOPHE SIMON Brazilian police
Brazilian police - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.06.2024
Military-grade armaments provided for Ukraine’s war effort are instead being sold for profit on the black market, ending up in the hands of terrorists and dangerous criminals.
Police in Spain are demanding “urgent measures” as increasing numbers of Western-made weapons supplied to Ukraine are ending up in the hands of violent drug gangs, according to reports in local media.
The proliferation of the military grade arms is creating “a very great risk for citizens in general,” said Pedro Carmona, a spokesman for Spain’s Unified Association of Civil Guards, who called it a “very serious situation.” The police union says the phenomenon has reached crisis levels in recent weeks, according to the El Independiente newspaper.
Last September, Spanish police reported seizing US-made AR-10 and APC223 rifles with “NATO caliber ammunition” during a raid on a drug smuggling gang in Barcelona. Last month, a firefight erupted between Civil Guard members and drug traffickers in the city of Cadiz, during which the criminals “unloaded numerous shots from automatic military-grade weapons” according to the newspaper.
The Spanish government’s 2023 Annual National Security Report identified armed conflicts as contributing to “the greater availability of weapons” in the country given their “diversion into the illegal firearms trade.”
 Russia's FSB special forces. File photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.04.2024
FSB Thwarts Smuggling of Explosives Hidden in Church Icons From Ukraine to Russia via EU
The problem has been recognized for some time, with Europol reporting that weapons were being trafficked out of Ukraine and into the hands of criminal gangs just two months into the ongoing conflict with Russia. Investigations found Western-supplied Ukrainian weapons being sold on the dark web soon after.
Europol criticized Ukrainian authorities for providing firearms to civilians “without any records” in early 2022, pointing to the potential for the weapons to find their way onto the black market. But corrupt Ukrainian officials may be engaging in arms trafficking, as well. Russian UN representative Dmitry Polyansky claimed last year there is evidence Kiev officials “sell off” Western-provided aid for profit.
In January, Ukraine’s SBU security service reported the discovery of a massive corruption scheme involving “high-ranking officials” from the country’s Ministry of Defence pocketing $40 million from funds earmarked for the purchase of shells from the supplier Lvov Arsenal. The funds made their way to various foreign accounts, the investigation revealed, while no arms were ever produced. Just four months prior defense minister Oleksii Reznikov was fired after fraud was uncovered in deals to purchase food and clothing for Ukrainian troops.
Government corruption is historically recognized as endemic in Ukraine, a fact that has stymied efforts by the country to join the European Union. In 2015, British newspaper The Guardian called Ukraine “the most corrupt nation in Europe,” a reality attested to by numerous reports.
Russian servicemen of the South group of forces fire a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher towards Ukrainian positions amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine, Russia. - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.05.2024
‘Talking About This for Years’: Ukraine’s Corruption is Partly Responsible for Their Defeat
“During the past decade, Ukraine has gained a reputation as one of the world's most active suppliers of illegal small arms,” claimed an investigation by US state media outlet PBS in 2002. “While Ukraine's legal arms industry has boomed, the international small arms black market may have proved far more lucrative.”

“As the newly independent state moved toward a partnership with NATO and downsized its military, its Soviet weapons fell into disuse,” the report continued. “Some were sold off legally, but many slipped through the cracks and into the black market. Poorly paid soldiers ‘lost’ their weapons, and some commanders were caught selling off entire military installations.”

“A Ukrainian parliamentary inquiry concluded that between 1992 and 1998, Ukraine lost $32 billion in military assets, in part through theft, discount arms sales and lack of oversight… And as these arms proliferated, so did evidence of international criminal networks that sold arms from Ukraine in flagrant violation of international sanctions and embargoes. Theft and corruption in the military facilitated the flow of illegal weapons from Ukraine… The ease with which arms shipments moved through official channels has led many observers to conclude that prominent Ukrainian officials were involved in the deals.”
Previously, Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation reported that Western weapons provided to Ukraine had found their way into the hands of criminal groups in the country, as well as gangs in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
Lach Gates on Independence Square in Kiev. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.04.2024
Great Place to Send US Money To: Another Top Ukrainian Official Busted on Suspicion of Corruption
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала