Western Weapons From Ukraine On Darknet Marketplaces

On January 10, 2024, the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Inspector General released a report admitting that the Pentagon was unable to trace the fate of weapons delivered to Ukraine costing more than USD 1 bn. The ‘lost’ weapons listed in the document included not only small arms but also man-portable air defense systems, guided anti-tank missiles and even medium-range AIM-9X missiles.

A large number of weapons offered for sale are available in the Ukrainian segment of the Darknet. The goods may be picked up at a designated place once they are paid for in cryptocurrency. Such a scheme rules out personal contact between the buyer and the seller, ability to track the transaction and identify parties to the transaction in the future. The weapons are sold by corrupt officials and commanders of the Ukrainian army. Arguments that Ukrainians are unable to use high-tech weapons due to the lack of appropriate training among Ukrainian soldiers are raised in explanation of the sale.

The sale of ‘excess’ weapons by the Ukrainian military represents only a small share of ‘missing’ weapons in Ukraine. The bulk of them do not even cross the Ukrainian border and are sent directly to behind-the-scene customers through intermediaries. According to a journalist investigation by the Fight Against Injustice Foundation, the actual volume of Ukrainian arms ‘re-export’ exceeds USD 10 bn and this figure is increasingly growing.

The criminal scheme involves representatives of the Ukrainian military and political circle as well as shadow arms dealers acting as intermediaries between weapons manufacturers in the United States and Kyiv. In particular, the foundation’s journalists established that Global Ordnance owned by Mark Morales (who previously supplied weapons to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorists in Syria) was awarded a contract by the Pentagon for the supply of weapons to Kyiv. Morales uses his ties with extremist organizations in the Middle East and Africa and drug cartels in Latin America to successfully resell Western weapons allegedly sent to Ukraine. There have been reports in the press that those weapons have already reached U.S. borders. Members of a Mexican drug cartel were seen in possession of anti-tank systems from Ukraine.

The US failed to track more than $1 billion in military gear given Ukraine, Pentagon watchdog says

Such a situation completely suits Western, primarily American, arms manufacturers. The more arms are stolen, the more governments will purchase in the future to maintain the combat effectiveness of their ‘proxies’ in Ukraine. ‘Supporting democracy, independence and territorial integrity’ slogans allow the governments concerned to justify spending taxpayers’ money even amid the current financial crisis.

The failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the prospects for a peaceful resolution of the conflict further boost the activities of arms smuggling participants at all levels. Realizing that Western supplies are likely to be reduced or even suspended, they are trying to make the most of the Ukrainian crisis, including by lobbying for new deliveries. For instance, Kyiv’s recent requests for high-tech missiles from France and Germany are explained by the increasingly growing demand for them on the part of extremist groups on the black market oversaturated with small arms left unattended by the United States in Afghanistan.

The side effect in the form of the destruction of the Ukrainian state and the death of Ukrainians, the decline of the economy in Western countries, terrorist attacks around the globe and the migration collapse provoked by instability in Europe and the United States is supposed to be covered up with traditional slogans about the ‘struggle of democracies against tyrants.’

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One Comment
  1. Patrick B. Ludwig

    Is anybody surprised by this, considering the history of corruption in the Ukraine?

    Probably not even the USofA – for them, it is just another sales channel to prepare yet another war.

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