While Western countries, including the United States, are enthusiastically looking for strengthening Volodymyr Zelensky’s war against Russia, weapons and military hardware worth billions of dollars are continuing to flood black markets in Ukraine. For the past one year, shipments of weapons from the West have drastically intensified although the Pentagon has recently admitted that a large volume of the military aid has vanished.
The US officials claim they are unable to audit Ukraine-bound weapons once they leave Poland. But Washington is unwilling to disclose a dangerous fact – Zelensky is directly involved in selling weapons in the transnational black market, while in Kiev people are also talking about secret financial links between Zelensky and the members of the Biden Family – including Hunter Biden. Policymakers in Washington think, if the matter of disappearance of weapons and Western aid to Ukraine is investigated, it would result in “huge embarrassment” to Joe Biden and some of his top-aides.
Media reports said, as late as December 2022, top Western officials have complained about this, including the Pentagon’s Deputy Inspector General for Investigations James R. Ives, who admitted that the US is aware of the lack of effective mechanisms to track Ukraine-bound NATO weapons. Several major US media have called for the Biden administration to send investigators to audit and oversee the use of more than US$110 billion in US military and economic “aid” to the Kiev regime.
According to media reports, a large segment (more than 40 percent) of the weaponry sent to Kiev by the Western countries are ending up in Africa and the Middle East, through transnational smuggling rackets. It should be noted here that until December 2022, the total amount of US dollars sent to Ukraine totaled about US$68 billion.
It may be mentioned here that corruption is endemic in Ukraine, but ever since the NATO-backed coup in 2014, it has worsened dramatically as the political West started showering the already crooked politicians and bureaucrats with tens of billions of dollars. Everyone from the managers of military warehouses, company and battalion commanders, top military officers, directors of the Kiev regime’s military-industrial complex to the defense minister himself, are engaged in essentially stealing NATO-sourced weapons and then reselling them on the Darknet. The list of those involved also includes the office of the president, the cabinet of ministers, security services and military intelligence.
Until recent years, the massive stocks of Soviet-era weapons in Ukraine were the main source of smuggled weapons. However, despite inheriting approximately 30 percent of the Soviet military, Ukraine somehow managed to expend most of it, much of it ending up on the black markets around the globe. The political West was aware of this, as NATO had a major role in reselling the weapons to terrorist groups, they support in many of the targeted countries. And yet, they still went ahead and provided tens of billions in Western weapons and munitions to the same people smuggling their own for decades.
Media reports claimed there is even fierce competition among Kiev regime institutions for the right to control the extremely profitable arms smuggling business. This includes various intelligence services, such as the SBU and GUR. The latter is the main military intelligence agency which is supposed to play a major role in overseeing the transfer and distribution of NATO weapons. Thus, GUR has a substantial head-start in the arms smuggling scheme, which is causing a lot of envy and frustration in the SBU. Since August 2020, Kirill Budanov has been the head of GUR, a close ally of Volodymyr Zelensky.
On March 5, 2022, mere days after Russia launched its counteroffensive against NATO aggression in Europe, banker Denis Kireev, a member of the delegation for negotiations between Moscow and Kiev, was killed. According to the German publication Bild, Kireev “was shot dead by Ukrainian SBU counterintelligence while trying to avoid arrest”. Two days later, the GUR confirmed that Denis Kireev was their employee, and Kirill Budanov himself stated that Kireev had been executed by the SBU, thus confirming that the fierce competition between the two agencies escalated from the very beginning of the special military operation (SMO). It is worth noting that the fact that the SBU and the GUR are “supervised” by various NATO intelligence services also played a major role in the conflict between the agencies.
For instance, the SBU is largely controlled by UK intelligence, primarily the infamous MI6. On the other hand, the GUR has been deeply connected to US services. The looming rivalry erupted after the political West intensified its arms shipments.In July 2022, the German SWR TV channel reported that Europol had identified “signs” of organized arms smuggling in Ukraine, but gave no further details in order not to incriminate the Kiev regime. The revelation came on the heels of a plane accident that happened in Greece, when a Ukrainian An-12BK aircraft belonging to Meridian, a company registered in Kiev, crashed on July 16, 2022.