Russia warns that Western arms may have been trafficked to the Middle East from Ukraine.
According to an Ottawa Citizen report on Monday, the Canadian government has not participated in NATO talks on tracking weapon shipments to Ukraine. “has no idea” where its arms deliveries to Kiev’s forces have actually ended up.
Last week, unnamed Western officials spoke out to the Financial Times that several NATO member states and EU members are looking to create an arms tracking mechanism in order to stop weapons bound for Ukraine from going on the black markets. According to Dan Le Bouthillier, a military spokesperson, Canada will not be participating in the discussions.
According to defense sources, Canada does not know where its military aid sent to Ukraine ended up.
Since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February, Canada has given Vladimir Zelensky’s military some $386 million worth of weapons, including anti-tank missiles, rifles, mortars, grenade launchers and armored vehicles.
However, once the weapons have crossed from Poland into Ukraine they disappear. “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,”A Western official spoke to the Financial Times.
For all of its intelligence work in Ukraine, Washington doesn’t have a better idea, with a US intelligence source telling CNN in April that it has “almost zero”Imagine what will happen to these arms. “into a big black hole.”
Europol, however, claimed April that weapons were being smuggled out of Ukraine into the hands organized crime groups within the EU. Russian officials have warned of the possibility that weapons from abroad were sent to Ukraine and then turned up in the Middle East.
An investigation by RT last month found online marketplaces where sophisticated Western hardware – such as Javelin and NLAW anti-tank systems or Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade explosive drones – was being sold for pennies on the dollar. The sellers told RT’s reporters that some of these weapons could be delivered to Poland at an extra charge. However, it is not possible to verify whether these sellers actually had the weapons in stock, as scams are commonplace on ‘dark web’ marketplaces.
EU boosts military support for Ukraine
Currently, Canada can only take Ukraine’s word that its weapons aren’t ending up in the wrong hands. Defense Minister Anita Anand told lawmakers in April that she couldn’t provide details on her country’s arms deliveries to Ukraine, but added that the Ukrainian military signed a declaration assuring her that Canadian weapons would not be transferred to any other organization.
While NATO member countries are concerned and Interpol reports from Russia have raised concerns, Kiev maintains there is nothing unusual. “Information that Ukraine is becoming a major hub for arms smuggling does not correspond to reality,” Yury Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister told the Financial Times.
“Any movement of weaponry either into Ukraine or out of Ukraine…is very closely monitored and supervised both by Ukraine and our international partners,”He continued before declaring that contrary reports were not supported by him “could be part of Russia’s information war to discourage international partners from providing Ukraine with weaponry that is necessary for our victory,” despite the fact that these reports have come from some of the West’s top officials and law enforcement agencies.
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