Ukraine’s Defence Secretary assures Kyiv tracks weapons movement, including out of Ukraine, amid Western fears

14 July, 07:53 PM
HIMARS heading to Zaporizhzhya Oblast (Photo:General Staff)

HIMARS heading to Zaporizhzhya Oblast (Photo:General Staff)

Commenting on the recent Financial Times article about the risks of Western weapons smuggling from Ukraine to the European black market, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov asserted that weapons are under strict control during an interview with Radio NV published on July 13.

"We don't quite get these hints,” he said.

“In this case, names should be made public – it is much easier then to probe into all these accusations. Such hints in a very important publication create an extremely dangerous situation for our country."

He stressed that the Ukrainian side is doing everything in its power to ensure that all procedures for obtaining, storing, and using weapons are transparent for its partners, adding that Ukraine has "no secrets" from them.

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"If you read into what is written there, it is a very serious challenge for us,” Danilov said, commenting on the FT’s article, based on three anonymous sources.

“We must respond to it. We will soon invite and show the control system in place in our country. Believe me, everything is under control up to the last bullet."

He added that Ukraine would like to "deal with" facts, not emotions, and linked the FT's piece to the enemy's work on the information front.

"But we are ready, together with the journalists who published such an article, to conduct an investigation and see what exactly it is about,” NSDC secretary said.

Danilov also stated that there is no reason to blame Ukraine for the fact that weapons from the country enter the black market of Europe, because, in his opinion, the existence of a black market for weapons on the territory of NATO countries is an "absurd situation."

"We believe that today we simply do not have such a situation, but we need to take the risks into account,” he concluded.

“And to enable our partners to track the whereabouts of the weapons supplied to us. It is their right and our duty to show how we use them. Transparency is the No. 1 issue here because it is a matter of trust. We now desperately need trust, and it is extremely dangerous to lose it from our partners now."

Earlier Financial Times published a piece, stating that NATO and the EU are pushing for better tracking of weapons supplied to Ukraine in response to fears that criminal gangs are smuggling them out of the country to Europe's black market.

Citing two Western officials, the publication writes that a number of NATO member states are discussing with Kyiv some form of tracking system or detailed inventory lists of weapons supplied to Ukraine. Another source familiar with the situation said that the Ukrainian government is creating a broader system of weapons monitoring and tracking with the help of Western countries.

“All these weapons land in the south of Poland, get delivered to the border, and then simply distributed by vehicles for the crossing: trucks, vans, sometimes private cars," said one of the Western officials.

“And from this moment on, we know nothing about their whereabouts and have no idea where they are going, where they are being used, or even if they are staying in the country.”

At the same time, the adviser to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Yuriy Sak assured that "any transfer of weapons both to Ukraine and from Ukraine — when such a transfer is needed for repairs — is very carefully monitored and controlled by both Ukraine and our international partners."

The FT also writes that the issue of illegal arms trafficking from Ukraine was discussed this week at a meeting of EU interior ministers, and Europol said in April that its investigations showed that arms supply from Ukraine to the bloc for the use of organized crime groups had begun and constituted a potential security threat to the EU.

"At first, Ukrainian officials-maintained registers of firearms issued to civilians, but as the war progressed, they abandoned this practice, and since then firearms have been distributed without accounting," the Europol message said.

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