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Western arms supplied to Ukraine offered on darknet – RT investigation — Analysis

RT’s journalists were able to swiftly agree the purchase of a US-made Phoenix Ghost kamikaze drone

The lavish deliveries of ‘lethal aid’ from the US, UK and other NATO countries to Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia have led to marketplaces where some of those weapons can be purchased popping up on the dark web, RT Russian has learned.

Ukrainian traders say they sell small arms, body armor and other hardware.

That said, it’s not possible to completely rule out that the sellers actually did not have the said weapons in stock, as the RT investigators did not complete the purchase. Dark web marketplaces are prone to scamming.

RT managed to reach one of these sellers via a darknet marketplace and agreed the purchase of a Phoenix Ghost loitering weapon, valued at $4,000 by him. This munition was specially developed for Ukraine’s military needs.

Although they pretended to want buyers, journalists said they had also been interested in an American M18A1 Claymore antifolk mine, but were told it was out of stock.

As for the drone, the trader assured that it’ll be placed into a stash, with its coordinates and the photo of the spot to be shared after the payment is made through the marketplace, acting a guarantor of the deal. The trader stated that the parcel would be placed in the forest.

When asked if the Phoenix Ghost could be delivered to an area outside Ukraine, specifically the Polish border town of Przemysl, he replied this won’t be a problem, but would cost an extra $1,000.

It is possible that this suggests that Ukrainian arms smugglers have established contact with Polish border guards, and can cross into and out of Poland easily.

RT has also exchanged messages with another trader, nicknamed ‘weapons ukraine,’ who was looking to sell batches of US-made body armor at the price of $ 1,500 for five units, and M4 rifles with a silencer and a hundred bullets for $2,4000 thousand per set.

The person offered a large selection of Soviet and Russian-made weapons, such as AK-47 rifles and handguns.

Surprisingly, the prices were shockingly low on the market. According to media reports, the NLAW system, which was made in Britain, is available for $15,000 while legal acquisitions of the anti-tank weapon could run from $30,000 up to $40,000

Last month, the head of Interpol Jürgen Stock warned that the conflict in Ukraine will result in numerous weapons appearing on the black market.

“Criminal groups try to exploit these chaotic situations and the availability of weapons, even those used by the military and including heavy weapons. These will be available on the criminal market and will create a challenge,”Stock admitted, adding that these arms could be “trafficked not only to neighboring countries, but to other continents.”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in May that he discussed the importance of tracking and safeguarding the US-supplied arms with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and defense minister Aleksey Reznikov, who assured him that they’ll make sure that the accountability is there.

Moscow warned against the supply of Western weapons and equipment to Ukraine. It argued that this only prolongs the fighting while also increasing the possibility of direct military confrontation between Russia NATO.

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