Europol Reports Weapons Smuggling from Ukraine to EU Countries

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The EU police said that there were cases of arms trade on the black market. According to Europol, Ukrainian refugees also smuggle weapons across the border. Criminal networks are involved in smuggling “a significant amount of firearms and ammunition” from Ukraine to EU countries. This is stated in a confidential report of the European Union Police Service (Europol), sent to the EU Council, reported the German public-legal media company SWR. The report contains information about the consequences of the war in Ukraine and terrorist threats to the European Union. According to this data, law enforcers are aware of a number of cases when individuals tried to leave Ukraine with firearms. The police service also suggests that caches have been set up along Ukraine’s border with the EU to organize smuggling. According to Europol, some of the countries that have received large numbers of refugees fear that some of them carry firearms for self-defense. The police also suspect that some Ukrainians have smuggled weapons cross the border to sell or exchange them for goods or services. In particular, the cases have been reported in which weapons may have been used to “pay for” cab rides. Weapons from Ukraine on the black market Europol representative Jan Op Gen Oorth told the dpa news agency that cases of black market trade in firearms and other military goods from Ukraine have been recorded. The law enforcement agencies of individual EU states do not rule out trade in heavy weapons either. “There is a risk that it will fall into the hands of organized criminal groups or terrorists,” said the Europol representative. According to him, a British portable anti-aircraft missile system Javelin was put up for sale on the darknet. However, Europol does not rule out that such offers may be “part of the Russian propaganda in order to form a negative attitude towards supplies of Western weapons.” Özlem Demirel, a German member of the European Parliament from the Left Party, expressed fears that the weapons supplied to Ukraine by the Bundeswehr might also have entered the EU illegally or ended up on the black market. Konstantin von Notz, deputy chairman of the Alliance 90/the Greens faction in the Bundestag, voiced the opinion that effective control over the use of weapons must be introduced to prevent smuggling. The EU fears arming the mafia with weapons from Ukraine Earlier, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said that the EU was concerned the mafia and various criminal groups would have access to weapons from Ukraine, as they did during the military conflict in Yugoslavia. To prevent the growth of organized crime, the European Commission, together with the Moldovan authorities, launched a center to support internal security and border management in the republic. “The Russian war of aggression has led to increased threats to internal security both in the EU and in Moldova. Due to its geographic location, Moldova has a key role to play in managing the criminal and security consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the European Commission pointed out. DW