Ukrainian soldiers are risking their lives to keep weapons on the black market (2023)


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Ukrainian soldiers are risking their lives to keep weapons on the black market (1)
(Video) Weapons sent to Ukraine appearing on black market .

Rocket launchers, precision-guided missiles and billions of dollars worth of other advanced American weaponry have given Ukraine a fighting chance against Russia ahead of a counteroffensive. But if some of the weapons end up on the black market instead of on the battlefield, one Ukrainian lawmaker gloomily predicted: "We're done."

The lawmaker, Oleksandra Ustinova, a former anti-corruption activist who now oversees foreign arms transfers to Ukraine, does not believe there is widespread smuggling of the most expensive and sophisticated weapons the United States has donated over the past year.

"We literally let people die because things were left, and they came back for them and died," she said of Ukrainian troops' efforts to ensure weapons were not stolen or lost.

But in Washington, against the threatsovereign debt crisisUgrowing skepticismAs for financial aid to Ukraine, an increasingly skeptical Congress is demanding strict accountability for "every rifle, every round of ammunition that we send to Ukraine," Virginia Republican Rep. Rob Wittman said last month.

after the law,U.S. officials must oversee the use, transfer, and security of U.S. weapons and defense systems sold or otherwise provided to foreign partners to ensure they are deployed as intended. For security reasons, the Biden administration in December shifted much of the responsibility to Kiev for monitoring US arms shipments to the frontline, despite Ukraine's commitments.long history of corruptionUarms smuggling.

But the sheer number of weapons shipped -- including tens of thousands of Javelin and Stinger missiles, portable launchers and missiles -- presents an almost insurmountable challenge to keep track of each item, officials and experts warn.


(Video) Video shows Ukrainians using US weapons to strike Russian forces

All this has heightened concerns among Ukrainian officials who must ensure that weapons reach the battlefield.

"It's frankly impossible to ask people to inspect their stocks all the time," Ms. Ustinova, chairwoman of a committee in Ukraine's parliament that oversees the arms trade, said in a statement. interview last month on the streets of Warsaw as she hurried to catch a train to Kiev.

At the beginning of the war, she said, "it was all about survival, and people just went through the Javelin" to fend off the column of Russian armor that descended on Kiev at the start of the invasion. While those types of weapons are now routinely tracked, it is still "very difficult" to account for small arms, such as rifles, or the millions of artillery shells sent by the United States and its allies.

Fromcontrol is tightenedfor Javelins, Stingers and other types of missiles, as well as small diameter bombs, certain types of drones, night vision devices and other systemsdelivered to Ukraine.

But Mrs. Ustinova says she saw itzero evidence” of illegal arms transfers of the kind that would destroy Ukraine's credibility and at the very least threaten to reduce US support.

"When there's gun smuggling or abuse, we're done," she said.

So far, US officials said, only aa handful of casessuspected arms trafficking or other illegal military transfers of advanced weapons shipped to foreign conflicts to be monitored as closely as possible.


Federal investigators are currently looking into reports of Javelin shoulder-fired missiles and Switchblade drones being sold online after being taken from Ukraine, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the highly sensitive matter.

There was oneconfirmed reportOh yeahSwedish-made anti-tank grenade launchersmuggled from Ukraine. But the theft was only discovered after the weapon exploded in the trunk of a car about 10 miles outside Moscow, wounding a retired Russian military officer who had just returned from eastern Ukraine.

Inspectors from the Pentagon, the State Department and the US Agency for International Developmentreported in Marchthat they have "yet to substantiate significant waste, fraud or abuse" of US aid sent to Ukraine from 189 complaints they have received about alleged misconduct.

A rare visit by U.S. inspectors to a Ukrainian military facility in Odessa on April 26 found "no irregularities," said Capt. William Speaks, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Europe.

The commander of NATO forces in Europe, Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, told Congress late last month that he remembered only one case of attempted smuggling — some automatic rifles — since the war began. He said he had "great confidence" in Ukraine's ability to provide most of them37 billion US dollars in weapons and other security assistancethat has happened so far.

(Video) The game of cat-and-mouse in Ukraine | Sitrep podcast

But the threat remains. In intense conflicts like the one in Ukraine, weapons are used almost as fast as they are received. That makes man-portable missile systems and other portable weapons "much more difficult" to track, said Nikolai Sokov, a senior expert at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in Austria.


Accounting for ammunition is "almost impossible," Sokov said. He cited unconfirmed reports of Stinger missiles "roaming freely in Ukraine," saying officials appeared to be trying to convince Ukrainian citizens to return the small arms they received last year to defend themselves.

"That's what happens in any major, protracted conflict, and I see no reason to think that it could be any different with Ukraine," Sokov said.

In interviews and congressional testimony, more than half a dozen U.S. and Ukrainian officials described a diligent but flawed process for detecting weapons shipped from the U.S.

Before entering Ukraine, the weapons shipments stop at military collection centers in Europe, where the weapons' serial numbers are recorded in multiple databases reviewed by U.S. and Ukrainian officials. Serial numbers are rechecked along the delivery route to Ukraine to ensure none are missing. They are also used to identify weapons that have been lost and later found;weapons appearing far from Ukraineit would indicate that they were smuggled.

Ukrainian officials are "monitoring how it's progressing," Gen. Cavoli told Wittman at a House hearing. "We're looking over their shoulder."

Last December, U.S. officials began giving Ukrainian soldiers portable barcode scanners to instantly send serial numbers of advanced weapons to a U.S. database. The new process was part of the Biden administration's decision to give Ukraine more authority to self-report how it secures weapons.

(Video) US Troops In Ukraine For "Inspection" | Is Biden Risking Escalation With Russia Amid Putin Warning?

US military officials said the change was necessary that fighting largely prevented US inspectors from visiting troops on the battlefield. But US officials responsible for surveillance remain concerned because they cannot personally confirm where the weapons are.

At least some Ukrainian frontline units under constant Russian fire are still waiting for handheld scanners, Ms. Ustinova said. Such battlefield assessments are rare in other war zones, U.S. officials said, because smuggling generally becomes a problem when entire containers of sensitive missiles or missile systems — not individual small arms — go missing.

Ms Ustinova said Ukrainian officials and soldiers were all too aware of the harsh penalties not only for smuggling US weapons, but also for failing to report any losses - weapons destroyed or captured on the battlefield. Every lost weapon system is examined and its serial number reported to the US Embassy in Kiev, she said, "so just in case it turns up, in Iran or anywhere else, we won't be accused of it."


She said the 16-member board she chairs is conducting a persistent investigationnewspaper reportsof Western weapons intended for Ukraine that allegedly turned up with gangs, terrorist groups and other criminals. But Ms. Ustinova said she had found no evidence that the reports were true, echoing US claims they attributed to Russian disinformation campaigns to cast doubt on Nato's support for the war.

But that oversight is weighing on Ukrainian officials, who are weighing their urgent need for the weapons against the high expectations that they will be tracked down.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed a "sense of frustration" and the phrase "How many times do I have to tell you?" when the US delegation in Kiev raised the issue last month, said Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was traveling.

But Mr. Zelensky agreed that it was necessary, she said, to ensure the continued supply of American weapons and other security assistance.

"All it takes is a situation where we find that someone, somewhere in the chain, got a piece of military equipment and sold it for personal enrichment or disposed of it in some way," Ms. Murkowski said. "Because then it's only going to get a lot harder."

Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting.


(Video) America's Response If Russia Used Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine #ukrainewar

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What guns are being used in the Ukraine conflict? ›

Assault rifles and carbines

Primary weapon used by militia forces. AK-74M assault rifle. Standard service rifle of the Russian Ground Forces. AK-12 assault rifle.

What weapons are being sent to Ukraine? ›

The package will include rounds for artillery, howitzers, along with rockets for HIMARS, mortars, missiles and anti-tank rifles. For the first time, the U.S. is sending Hydra-70 rockets, which are launched from aircraft and could be used in air support for advancing Ukraine ground forces.

Can I bring my rifle to Ukraine? ›

Passengers carrying firearms and ammunition must hold a valid ticket for a given flight, a license for each item of weapon to be carried, issued by a relevant department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine with a note of commercial organization, which has sold the weapon, or a duplicate of such license.

What is the reason for conflict between Russia and Ukraine? ›

Ukraine became a battleground in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and began arming and abetting separatists in the Donbas region in the country's southeast. Russia's seizure of Crimea was the first time since World War II that a European state annexed the territory of another.

What is the most powerful weapon in Ukraine? ›

One of the most potent weapons for Ukraine, HIMARS allow for accurate, long-range strikes. Ukraine has used them mainly to destroy Russian ammunition dumps and command and control centers, as well as troop assembly points.

What is the most effective weapon for Ukraine? ›

The artillery, perhaps more than any other weapon type, helped Ukrainian troops to defend their capital, Kyiv, and eventually halt Russian advances in the east and south.

Which country has helped Ukraine the most? ›

While the U.S. has sent the most aid in total dollars, Ukraine's neighbors are contributing the most on a per GDP basis.

How many troops does Ukraine have left? ›

Armed Forces of Ukraine
Ukrainian Armed Forces
Active personnel~700,000 (2022)
Reserve personnel1,000,000 (2022)
Deployed personnel40,114 (2021)
25 more rows

Which country has given Ukraine the most support? ›

In total aid (military, financial and humanitarian combined), the European Union and its countries have provided the most to Ukraine, according to Kiel Institute, whereas the United States has by far provided the most in military aid.

What countries allow guns for self defense? ›

The purpose of gun rights is for self-defense, including security against tyranny, as well as hunting and sporting activities. Countries that guarantee the right to keep and bear arms include the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Ukraine, Mexico, the Philippines, the United States, Yemen, and Switzerland.

How many weapons are in the US? ›

This data includes guns that are purchased by law enforcement, but not the military. The Small Arms Survey, a Switzerland-based outfit that publishes periodic reports on the global gun stock, estimated in 2018 that local, state, and federal police forces in the United States have just over 1 million firearms.

Can I take my gun on vacation to Florida? ›

Can I carry legal... No. Florida, like Michigan and New Hampshire, has a residency requirement in its reciprocity law. Florida does not recognize non-resident concealed carry permits from other states.

What would happen if Russia and the US went to war? ›

A full-scale nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would see global food systems obliterated and over 5 billion people die of hunger.

How much land has Russia taken from Ukraine? ›

A new Guardian analysis of Institute for the Study of War data shows that, after once having seized as much as 51,000 sq miles (132,000 sq km) of Ukrainian land, Russia has since lost a fifth of this. It now controls 40,000 sq miles of Ukrainian land, entirely in the south and east.

What is it Russia wants from Ukraine? ›

His declared goal on 24 February 2022 was to "demilitarise and denazify" Ukraine and not occupy it by force, days after backing independence for eastern Ukrainian territories occupied by Russian proxy forces since 2014.

What is the main gun of Ukraine army? ›

Assault rifles
NameCountry of originCaliber
Fort-227Israel Ukraine5.56×45mm NATO
UAR-15Ukraine United States5.56×45mm NATO
M4-WAC-475.56×45mm NATO 7.62×39mm
28 more rows

How much do javelin missiles cost? ›

The shoulder-fired Raytheon/Lockheed Martin system can strike a target 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) away. It costs $178,000, including the launching system and the missile, which alone costs around $78,000.

What sniper rifle does Ukraine use? ›

It weighs five kilograms and fires the the same calibre 7.62 ammunition as other Nato sniper rifles, rather than the Russian rimmed rounds used in the Dragunov. Ukrainian troops began using the UAR-10 in 2018 - four years before the start of the Russian invasion. It is manufactured by Ukrainian firm Zbroyar.

What is Ukraine secret weapon? ›

As the first anniversary of the war trundles past with bleak prospects for peace, Ukrainians are savouring their secret weapon - the humble 'borsch' soup .

Why is the Ukrainian army so good? ›

Training is responsible for Ukraine's greatest advantage over the Russian invaders. The Ukraine military ditched the old Soviet style of tactics and began emulating the West, and that included building a competent and empowered non-commissioned officer corps.

What weapons would Ukraine need to defeat Russia? ›

"The first point is to re-equip the Ukrainian forces to win the war, for which they need those three essential capabilities: armored mobility, long-range rockets and air power," said Ledwidge.

Who is the biggest aid donor to Ukraine? ›

US, EU and European states provide most of the military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

What two countries are helping Ukraine? ›

The European Union

There is a real rallying around our country among the EU states. In terms of Gross domestic product, the Baltic States and Poland (members of the European Union) are the leaders in providing assistance to Ukraine.

How much money has France given to Ukraine? ›

France has contributed €630 million to the European Peace Facility (of a total of €3.5 billion, ie 20% of total contributions). Humanitarian assistance: €200 million for Ukraine and its neighbours.

Which is the strongest military in the world? ›

1. United States Of America. US Military has the biggest defence budget in the world. They are known for their most powerful Air Force on the planet, named as United States Air Force (USAF).

What is the largest military in the world? ›

Introduction. The size of armies around the world varies greatly, with the People's Republic of China having the largest army, with over 2 million military personnel. India and the United States follow closely behind with 1.46 million and 1.39 million military personnel respectively.

How many fighter jets does Ukraine have? ›

Flight International's 2022 almanac of air forces listed the Ukrainian service as having 43 MiG-29s and 26 Su-27s in its fleet.

How much aid has Germany given to Ukraine? ›

Germany announces $3 billion military aid package for Ukraine ahead of expected Zelenskyy visit. BERLIN (AP) — Germany will provide Ukraine with additional military aid worth more than 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition, the government said Saturday.

How much money has Canada given to Ukraine? ›

Between 2014 and 2021, Canada committed more than $250 million in development assistance. Since 2022, Canada has committed an additional $96 million in development assistance to support Ukraine's emerging needs in the face of Russia's illegal invasion.

How much money has NATO sent to Ukraine? ›

How much aid have NATO members sent to Ukraine? According to the latest data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a German think tank, NATO members committed at least 75.2 billion euros ($80.5bn) in financial, humanitarian and military aid between January 24 and November 20, 2022.

What country has the best gun laws? ›

Norway. The Good: Norway has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world and a permit process to obtain most types of firearms. The Bad: The right to own firearms is not guaranteed by law, and those seeking a gun owner's license (required for all ownership) must provide a reason for doing so.

Can you own a gun in Germany? ›

Compared to the United States, the key difference in gun laws is that in Germany, you need to have a compelling reason to own a gun. In order to get a permit to own a gun in Germany you need to prove to the authorities why it is necessary to do so.

Where does Mexico get guns? ›

Guns smuggled into Mexico are sometimes obtained at gunshops in the United States and carried across the US-Mexico border. In other cases the guns are obtained through Guatemalan borders, or stolen from the police or military, or bought from corrupt officials. Consequently, black market firearms are widely available.

Who makes the most weapons for the US? ›

CharacteristicArms salesTotal sales
Lockheed Martin Corp. (US)60,34067,044
Raytheon (US)41,85064,388
Boeing (US)33,42062,286
Northrop Grumman Corp. (US)29,88035,667
9 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

What are the most armed states? ›

States With Highest Gun Ownership

The states with the highest gun ownership rates are Montana, Wyoming, West Virginia, Idaho, Alaska, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Alabama. The state with the highest gun ownership rate is Montana, with a household firearm ownership rate of 65.7%.

Can you point a gun at someone on your property in Florida? ›

Pointing a gun at someone is a felony crime in Florida, punishable by imprisonment and fines. If you are undocumented or on a visitor visa and you are convicted, you can also be deported. And it makes no difference whether the gun you pointed was loaded.

Can you fly out of Florida with a firearm? ›

TSA firearms rules do allow passengers to travel with a firearm, provided you are properly permitted, the gun is not loaded, it's properly secured in a locked, hard-sided container inside your checked luggage and you have declared it to the airline.

Can I open carry on my own property in Florida? ›


Firearms may be open carried on your own property. Florida law does NOT permit the open carrying of firearms with the exception of certain activities, such as hunting. See the statute or regulations for more information.

Where is the safest place during nuclear war? ›

The Smart Survivalist named the Nordic country as the safest place in the event of a nuclear war. “Because Iceland is isolated from the rest of the world by the North Atlantic Ocean, it would be very difficult for a nuclear missile to reach Iceland without being detected first,” it said.

Where would Russia nuke in the US? ›

A Russian nuclear attack would likely focus on high-value targets in North Dakota or Montana.

What language is spoken in Ukraine? ›

Ukrainian, the official language, belongs with Russian and Belarusian to the East Slavic branch of the Slavic language family. Ukrainian is closely related to Russian but also has distinct similarities to the Polish language.

How much of Ukraine has been destroyed? ›

For more than ten months of the war, a total of 149,300 residential buildings were damaged or destroyed, including: 131,400 private houses, 17,500 apartment buildings and 280 dormitories.

How much land did Russia take from Ukraine in 2023? ›

Russia: +25,000 square miles. 11% of Ukraine. Area equivalent to Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut combined.

Does Ukraine have oil? ›

The Dnipro-Donetsk basin is a major oil and gas producing region accounting for 90 percent of all current Ukrainian production. The structure of hydrocarbons production in Ukraine is as follows: natural gas 89 percent, oil 7.9 percent, and gas condensate 3.1 percent.

Why did Russia give Crimea to Ukraine? ›

On 19 February 1954, the oblast was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR jurisdiction, on the basis of "the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR" and to commemorate the 300th anniversary ...

Why does Russia have so much land? ›

To elaborate on the historical reasons, Russia went through a time of territorial expansion. This happened because many principalities were always at war with one another during the 15th and 16th centuries. It finally stopped when Moscow was put in charge and began uniting all the Russian territories.

What weapon is being sent to Ukraine by the US? ›

The US has sent a wide variety of equipment to Ukraine in 37 “presidential drawdown authority” packages, including high mobility artillery rocket system (Himars) launchers, Javelin anti-tank weapons and a Patriot surface-to-air missile system.

Are tanks being sent to Ukraine? ›

"After further study and analysis on how best to do this, DOD, in close coordination with Ukraine, has made the decision to provide the M1A1 variant of the Abrams tank, which will enable us to significantly expedite delivery timelines, and deliver this important capability to Ukraine by the fall of this year."

What weapons are the UK sending to Ukraine? ›

The UK will send hundreds of air defence missiles and armed drones to Ukraine on top of the Storm Shadow cruise missiles announced last week. The move means the UK is going further than any other country in providing weapons with the potential to tip the battlefield in Ukraine's favour.

What weapons are Ukraine Army using? ›

Assault rifles
NameCountry of originCaliber
AK-74 AKS74 AKS74uSoviet Union5.45×39mm
APS5.66x39mm MPS
IPI MalyukUkraine7.62×39mm 5.45×39mm 5.56×45mm NATO
Fort-221Israel Ukraine5.45×39mm 5.56×45mm NATO
28 more rows

How much does a javelin missile cost? ›

The shoulder-fired Raytheon/Lockheed Martin system can strike a target 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) away. It costs $178,000, including the launching system and the missile, which alone costs around $78,000.

Who has donated weapons to Ukraine? ›

Data shows that the UK has supplied a wealth of rockets, defence systems, armoured vehicles, weapons, ammunition and training to Ukraine over the last year, to the tune of €2.5 billion. On 14 January 2023, the UK became the first country to provide Ukraine with Challenger 2s, the main modern western battle tank.

How many howitzers does Ukraine have? ›

Ukraine started the war with approximately 1,150 Soviet-era howitzers: 750 152 mm howitzers and 350 122 mm howitzers. Added to the 424-plus howitzers received from allies, Ukraine has a total of approximately 1,600 artillery pieces.

What is currently the best tank in the world? ›

The top ten tanks today are the German KF51 Panther, the American Abrams M1A2, the Russian T-14 Armata, the Korean K2 Black Panther, the Chinese T-99, the German Leopard 2, the French Leclerc XL, the British Challenger 2, the Israeli Merkava V, and the Japanese Type-90.

How many tanks has Russia lost in Ukraine? ›

LONDON—Russia has likely lost more than 2,000 tanks in its war in Ukraine, more than half of its operational tank fleet, according to estimates released Wednesday from the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Which countries are sending weapons in Ukraine? ›

The US, the UK and Germany are sending tanks, and Germany is allowing other Western countries to send German-made tanks from their fleets. The US and other Nato allies have promised to support providing advanced fighter jets to Ukraine and also back training Ukrainian pilots to fly them.

What is Britain sending to Ukraine? ›

The British defense ministry on Monday confirmed it would provide Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium. Such rounds were developed by the U.S. during the Cold War to destroy Soviet tanks, including the same T-72 tanks that Ukraine now faces in its push to break through a stalemate in the east.

How many weapons has England sent to Ukraine? ›

These are all of the weapons the UK has pledged to support Ukraine. All information was taken from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and was correct as of May 12. Six-hundred Brimstone anti-tank missiles were pledged as part of a package in January 2023 and by the end of March the total number of such weapons was at 3,615.

How many Russian fighter jets lost in Ukraine? ›

“Ukraine's downed over 70 Russian aircraft. So both of their integrated air and missile defense, especially when you're talking about going against aircraft, they've been very effective. And that's why they're not flying over one another's country.”

Did Ukraine just got a new type of weapon that could change everything? ›

The new weapon, the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), will allow Ukraine's military to hit targets at twice the distance reachable by the rockets it now fires from the U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).


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