US, UN Carry Out Inspections In Ukraine, Weapons Ending Up In Hands Of Criminals In Europe
UKRAINE - The US military is reportedly carrying out onsite weapons inspections in Ukraine in order to make sure that weapons provided to Ukraine by the United States are not being diverted into the wrong hands such as Russian troops or proxies, or extremist organizations. Finnish news is reporting weapons delivered to Ukraine are ending up in criminals hands in European countries.
The UN's nuclear agency also said its own inspectors found no evidence that Ukraine planned to build or detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb".
The on-site inspections were reported on by numerous media outlets who reported anonymous sources. Military Times cited a senior U.S. defense official who it says "told Pentagon reporters" on Monday, and the story has been corroborated by a statement released by the State Department.
Regarding Russia's "dirty bomb" claims, the International Atomic Energy Agency carried out its own inspections in Ukraine and said that it "did not find any indications of undeclared nuclear activities and materials."
In a statement, the UN agency said, "Based on the evaluation of the results available to date and the information provided by Ukraine, the agency did not find any indications of undeclared nuclear activities and materials at the locations".
The release by the State Department said "Thus far, intense internal demand for use on the battlefield by Ukrainian military and security forces within Ukraine is assessed to be impeding black-market proliferation of small arms and guided infantry weapons,” the State Department document states."
CNN has reported that the Pentagon says the US has not seen any "credible evidence of the diversion of US provided weapons" in Ukraine, citing a US defense official, and says that the United States has "taken steps" to prevent the diversion of weapons sent to Ukraine by the United States. This reportedly includes inspections of the weapons stocks on the ground in Ukraine "wherever the security conditions allow".
The report said that "in each instance, our team from Kyiv from the US embassy has found the Ukrainians to be very transparent and able to support inspections.”
The report also said that the official stated the US is keeping detailed records of each weapon shipment just before it enters Ukraine. Once in Ukraine, the weapons are logged and tracked from the border to the front line, where Ukraine also keeps track of any damages that the weapons sustain.
CNN cited the official as saying, "Additionally, "DOD is conducting hands-on training with the Ukrainian Armed Forces on US best practices so they can provide better data, for example, from sites close to the front lines that U.S. personnel cannot visit".
Military Times also reported that a "small number" of U.S. military forces are operating within Ukraine carrying out onsite inspections, ensuring that Ukrainian troops are properly accounting for the weapons they are receiving from the United States, citing a U.S. defense official who spoke to Pentagon reporters speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Military Times reported that one of the concerns that the U.S. campaign addresses is making sure that the weapons provided to Ukraine by the United States do not fall into the hands of Russian troops, any of Russia's proxies, or other extremist organizations or groups.
Russian state news agency RT picked the story up, reporting that "American troops are now on the ground in Ukraine, where they are monitoring NATO arms deliveries by the country," citing an anonymous Pentagon official who 'told several US media outlets on Monday".
RT reported that Brigadier General Garrick Harmon, the US defense attache to Kyiv spoke to reporters from the Associated Press, NBC News, and "other members of the Pentagon press pool" and said that “There have been several of these inspections" which occurred "close to the front lines", "but where security conditions allow".
The State Department report said that "Wherever practicable, the United States will cooperate closely with Allies and key partners to mitigate the risk of potential weapons diversion due to Russia’s destabilizing actions."
It also said, "Wars can provide opportunities for weapons to fall into private hands via theft or illicit sales, sometimes creating black markets for arms that endure for decades. A variety of criminal and non-state actors may attempt to acquire weapons from sources in Ukraine during or following the conflict, as occurred after the Balkans Wars in the 1990s."
"Early U.S. engagement with partners will focus on concrete steps that can be taken to reduce the risks and drivers of potential weapons diversion."
"This approach includes regional border security information-sharing and collaboration related to: sanctions and export control implementation; targeting and risk analysis; and observed tactics, techniques, and procedures along key border areas."
"Allies will be encouraged to adopt methods that include but are not limited to: Enabling Ukraine to properly document and account for the weapons the Allies deliver, Surging relevant training to key officials responsible for identifying and safeguarding advanced conventional weapons, Monitoring/investigating suspected weapons traffickers; and, Building the capacity of law enforcement officials and analysts in Ukraine and neighboring states to process and share information regarding interdicted or captured weapons."
Reports Of Weapons Delivered To Ukraine ending Up In The Hands Of Criminals In Finland
Finnish news Yle (from translation) has Reported that weapons delivered to Ukraine from the United States are ending up in the hands of criminals in Finland.
The report said that European police authority Europol has warned that international criminals are attempting to smuggle weapons from Ukraine into different European Union countries.
Along with drugs, weapons and people entering the country illegally through Finland's international ports, Europol has warned that international criminal networks are trying to smuggle firearms and ammunition from Ukraine to various countries in the EU.
Yle cited Crime Commissioner Christer Ahlgren saying that "We have signs that these weapons are already in Finland. Weapons delivered to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands."
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