Arms and military supplies that have been supplied by Western nations and intended for Ukraine to use in defending against the Russian invasion are reportedly turning up on the black market in the Middle East and parts of Europe.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued statements this week about arms shipments to Ukraine that caused further controversy and concern in the West. He said that the supplies are being sent “in the hope of prolonging the conflict in Ukraine,” but are “ending up on the black market.”
Since the Russian invasion began in February, the U.S. and European Union member nations have promised more than $10 billion in military aid to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government. NATO has directly provided Ukraine with ammunition, missile systems, and personnel carriers.
The Western governments have reportedly begun discussions with Ukraine about developing a system for tracking the weapons being shipped there. The Ukrainian government says it is developing a more thorough process for tracing and monitoring the weapons it receives in aid of its defense.
Sources have claimed that weapons shipped from the West “land in southern Poland” before being loaded onto all sorts of trucks, vans, and even private cars to be taken across the border. From that point, it is alleged that no one knows “where they go, where they are used, or even if they stay in the country.”
U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Denise Jenkins said that the reports of black market arms trafficking are “among a host of considerations” the administration is examining.
Jenkins added that the U.S. takes its responsibility to prevent arms “diversion or illicit proliferation” very seriously. She said that the Biden administration is in “continued contact” with Ukraine to avoid the loss of weapons.
Jenkins went on to say that she is confident of the commitment made by Ukraine to “safeguard and account for” weapons provided by the U.S.
Ukrainian defense spokesman Yuriy Sak assured reporters that his government is carefully monitoring weapons coming into the country. He added that the supervision of weapons is also being provided by “international partners.”
The European Union opened an “EU support hub” in Moldova recently to monitor possible arms trafficking out of Ukraine.
With no end to the Ukraine war in sight, the U.S. is expected to continue sending additional military and financial assistance to the Zelensky government to aid in the defense against the ongoing Russian invasion.