by Rob Lownie
Friday, 4
November 2022
Spotted
07:15

Are Ukrainian weapons falling into criminal hands?

A Finnish police chief claimed that guns are illegally circulating in Europe
by Rob Lownie
Detective Superintendent Christer Ahlgren of the NBI

On Sunday a story appeared in Finnish outlet Yle, claiming that criminals in several European countries have seized military equipment intended for troops fighting in Ukraine. Working off preliminary “signs”, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Detective Superintendent Christer Ahlgren told Yle that “weapons shipped to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.” He added: “Ukraine has received a large volume of weapons and that’s good, but we’re going to be dealing with these arms for decades and pay the price here.”

Ahlgren’s claim comes in light of Europol’s warning in July that ‘the proliferation of firearms and explosives in Ukraine could lead to an increase in firearms and munitions trafficked into the EU’, either through smuggling routes or online. Earlier this year, experts cautioned that controls were needed to prevent munitions flooding the black market across the continent. Just days before the Yle story broke, the US Department of State announced its plan to tackle the illicit diversion of weapons sent to Ukraine, citing ‘Russia’s forces, Russia’s proxies, and non-state actors’ as potential criminal agents.

The Ukrainian government was quick to deny Ahlgren’s claims, saying that ‘the information [in Yle] about the smuggling channel of Ukrainian weapons to Finland is fake.’ More recently, Finland’s own police have also contradicted Ahlgren’s supposed findings. On Tuesday Markus Välimäki, deputy head of the same organisation, said: “Based on the interview of our expert [Ahlgren], people may have got the impression that there have already been weapons trafficked to Finland. However, we have no evidence of such a phenomenon.” According to Välimäki, equipment falling into the hands of gangsters is a possibility, not an observed reality. 

A report last year from the Small Arms Survey stated that ‘the outbreak of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine in 2014 led to the widespread proliferation of small arms, light weapons, and their ammunition.’ It suggests that this equipment has spread around Ukraine for criminal use, but not that it has been transported to networks elsewhere in Europe. 

The problem, according to the Yle report, lies primarily in the spread of small, automatic weapons. The Finns have so far sent nine shipments of military material, the most recent in the second week of October, including at least 2500 rifles and 150,000 cartridges. Ahlgren did not specify what types of arms had been intercepted in Finland.

According to Välimäki, the NBI is in possession of intelligence which could support Ahlgren’s claims of trafficking in neighbouring countries, but he refused to divulge further detail. Dismissing the possibility of a wide-scale diversion of arms, Välimäki said that “there is no reason to worry” before adding: “Organised crime is extremely agile in situations where they can get weapons”. As such, only a very limited number of weapons could make their way to criminal gangs.

Representatives of the national crime agencies of Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands have not addressed the story, and have made no public comment in the past few days as to whether criminal networks in their countries have seized arms bound for Ukraine. None of them, nor Finland’s NBI, responded to requests for comment from UnHerd

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Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
23 days ago

Why would anyone be surprised that a former communist country largely run by oligarchs to this day, whose president and past president were both found to be hiding offshore bank accounts and that has been mired in corruption (like essentially ALL former communist countries) since the fall of the USSR… would be funneling arms and aid into private hands?

Nah. I’m sure the story is just Russian disinformation. Get Facebook on it right way!

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
23 days ago

“(The US State Dept. cited) ‘Russia’s forces, Russia’s proxies, and non-state actors’ as potential criminal agents.”

Is there anything Russia can’t do at this point?

A Willis
A Willis
22 days ago

“Why would anyone be surprised that a former communist country largely run by oligarchs to this day, whose president and past president were both found to be hiding offshore bank accounts and that has been mired in corruption (like essentially ALL former communist countries) since the fall of the USSR… would be funneling arms and aid into private hands?”
But surely, that description is exactly what Russia is under your Putin!
.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
21 days ago
Reply to  A Willis

In the ranking of corruption in Europe, Ukraine is in second place, just a few points behind Russia. Little to choose between them.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
23 days ago

These arms circulating in Europe could also be part of the $80Billion worth of US arms left in Afghanistan after Biden’s ridiculously abrupt withdrawal and the quick abandonment by the Afghan armed forces as the Taliban swept through. Just more examples of the gift that keeps on giving.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
23 days ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

The fact that they didn’t even attempt to scuttle all the kit they were leaving behind, still bemuses me to this day.

Last edited 23 days ago by Philip Stott
odd taff
odd taff
23 days ago

There is leakage of weapons from every prolonged conflict. Peacetime armed forces have robust systems for controlling arms and ammunition but on battlefields stuff gets lost or abandoned. It would be surprising if the Ukraine conflict was any different.

chris Barton
chris Barton
23 days ago

From one bunch of criminals (the Biden family and his Ukrainian puppet) to another bunch of criminals, imagine my shock!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
23 days ago

It won’t be long before an aircraft is shot down at Heathrow, Gatwick or Luton by a top of the range SAM originally destined for Ikickabollockoff & Co in the Ukraine.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
22 days ago

Now can you see why Russia had to take Chernobyl and ZNPP? To prevent Z selling weapons grade plutonium and uranium from ZNPP to the highest bidder or building his own missiles. And Britain has been urgently trying to get it back, so since they’ve repeatedly failed they would resort to a dirty bomb to fire at Chernobyl, until half the British govt blabbed about the plan on there iPhones that is.

A Willis
A Willis
22 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Andrews

Let me get this straight, your telling me that all these AK 47s and RPG 7s that the world, and every terrorist organisation in the world, is awash with, originated in the West?
Yeah, right.
And I suppose Prigozhin, the bloke who owns your employer, Glavset, is just a misunderstood choir boy.
.

A Willis
A Willis
22 days ago
Reply to  A Willis

Doesn’t this just confirm just how many of you are Glavset trolls.
People who oppose arming the Ukraine: oh, what a surprise!

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
22 days ago
Reply to  A Willis

Cheeky little American puppet, the defence minister has gone awfully quiet lately, hasn’t he? Must have got a good telling off in Washington, and a new line manager or ‘PM’.