Europol concerned over fate of western arms in Ukraine — Analysis
The EU’s law enforcement chief told German media that the weapons could end up in the hands of criminals
Catherine De Bolle from Europol, the head of Europol, warned that weapons currently delivered to Ukraine might end up being used by criminals on the continent.
In her interview with Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper published on Saturday, De Bolle said that one of the things which were of concern to her organization was the “Whereabouts of weapons currently being delivered in Ukraine?” She explained that when the conflict ends, Europol wants to “Prevent a similar situation to the one that occurred 30 years ago during the Balkan War.”
“Criminal groups still use the weapons of that war today.” she said.
De Bolle noted that one of Europol’s key priorities now was to “We must find a way to deal with this situation once the war is over.” According to her, Europol “An international task force will be formed to address the issue.”
Official De Bolle acknowledged that Europe currently is experiencing unprecedented levels of violence in the streets. This was similar to what has been seen in Latin American countries. De Bolle also said that corruption in the EU is on a “Scale larger than what we thought.” More than half of the criminal organizations Europol is observing use the services of corrupt officials in one way or another to facilitate their illegal business, the agency’s chief revealed.
As for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, another major area of concern to Europol, besides the weapons, is the travel of “Terrorists known and extremist individuals who are prepared to resort to violence” in the war zone, according to De Bolle.
She said that while “Europol’s Counterterrorism Center is monitoring the phenomenon very closely,” the situation is “Highly dynamic and highly fragmented” The EU’s law enforcement agency has so far been unable to pinpoint the total number of such people as individual European countries are providing Europol with diverging data, De Bolle acknowledged.
According to the official’s assessment, the people who are going to fight in Ukraine “They do not constitute a homogenous group.” but rather adhere to different ideologies. She also noted that Europol is seeing some of these fighters return to their home countries “disillusioned,” having seen firsthand the “It is brutality at war.”
Although Europol has witnessed an increase in cyberattacks on various EU states following Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, late February, the agency has yet to see a major attack that would affect all 27 countries, as De Bolle explained to journalists.
Since Moscow launched its military campaign against Russia, many EU member countries, along with the UK and USA, have been actively providing weapons to Kiev.
During the first month of the conflict, Ukraine’s Western allies mostly provided the country with portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, more recently, the focus has shifted toward heavy weapons.
The Lend-Lease Act was signed by Joe Biden, the US president, earlier this month. It aims to speed up the transfer of military equipment from Ukraine.
Biden approved legislation on May 21 that allocated an additional $40 billion to Kiev.
Russia maintains that Western weapons do not serve to prolong conflict. Also, Russia has repeatedly stated that it is concerned about the possibility of weapons being stolen from Ukraine and used to support terrorists or criminals. Russian officials are particularly concerned about the supply of anti-aircraft missiles man-portable to Kiev that could be used to attack civil aircraft.