After giving billions of dollars and over 28,000 tons of military cargo, there’s growing concern of black market trafficking of weapons stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This is what happens when there’s little oversight on the process of arming a country during a conflict.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu 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.”
Shoigu didn’t offer any evidence to back up the claim.
Since the beginning of the conflict, NATO states have provided billions of dollars, ammunition, armored personnel carriers and some MLRS missile systems.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently held up a $40 billion bill that would provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and tweeted, “My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not any foreign nation. Congress is trying yet again to ram through a spending bill — one that I doubt anyone has actually read — and there’s no oversight included into how the money is being spent.”
The same can be said for military equipment.
Even without specifics, tracking systems should have been in place before sending any money or equipment, but it wasn’t.
Andriy Yermak, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, just suggested there be a tracking system set up recently after growing concerns.
Yermak wrote in the Telegram messaging app, “I would like to suggest that people’s deputies (parliamentarians) consider one important idea. Namely, the creation of a Temporary Special Commission, which will deal with the preparation and consideration of issues related to control over the use of weapons received from our partners.”
What a wonderful idea. Obviously the U.S. hadn’t considered this problem before sending aid.
Currently, weapons are shipped in trucks, vans and even in private vehicles across the border and into Ukraine. After crossing the border, nobody knows where the weapons are going.
An unnamed Western government source told The Financial Times, “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.”
Given the conflict, it’s not surprising that the shipping method is laid out the way that it is. That still doesn’t excuse the fact that there’s little to no concern about the weapons from that point forward.
Bonnie Denise Jenkins, U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and Internal Security, told reports in Brussels, “The U.S. very seriously takes our responsibility to protect American origin defense technologies and prevent their diversion or illicit proliferation. We are confident in the Ukrainian government’s commitment to appropriately safeguard and account for U.S. [weapons].”
Yuriy Sak, advisor in Ukraine’s Defense Department, said that the weapons are carefully monitored while inside of Ukraine and when the weapons cross the border due to repairs by Ukraine and international partners.
Because this is the first time the conversation has been brought up, where was the concern? And, because there apparently aren’t safeguards set up, how long should the U.S. and allied countries continue to send money and weapons to Ukraine?