‘Difficulties for the American army’

Sergey Andreev

Western countries can not agree on the supply of weapons to Kyiv. And it’s not just about financial disputes. Officials and politicians carefully ask themselves the question: where are the guarantees that the donated will not be resold. After all, this has happened before. About the situation that could become a dead end – in the material of RIA Novosti.
“Only One Percent”
The volume of military assistance to Ukraine in the United States is called unprecedented. So much equipment and weapons have not been supplied even to Afghanistan for all 20 years of the presence of the Americans there, who, by the way, leaving the country in a hurry, left equipment worth about 85 billion dollars.
The fate of the abandoned is vague: the new owners of Kabul immediately arranged a sale. Wh-ere the same “Hammers” will surface is unknown.
It was the Afghan experience that worried some senators. Reasonable dou-bts sounded even before a-ctive hostilities: in early Fe-bruary, parliamentary expe-rts prepared a report calling for strict control over the circulation of weapons.
We are talking primarily about the “Stingers” and “Javelins” – 1400 and 5500 units, respectively. Washin-gton wants to send them as part of a $40 billion aid package that congressmen have been hotly arguing ab-out. In particular, they were seriously concerned about the possible shortage of th-ese weapons and, as a res-ult, “difficulties for the A-merican army.” In addition, who guarantees that everything will get into the tro-ops and will not be used ag-ainst, for example, civil aviation.
Analysts have been warning officials about this for a long time. Thus, specialists from the Stimson Center, which advises the Pentagon and Congress, emphasize that any conflict at times increases the risk of “leakage of weapons.” And even more so if it is supplied as part of international assistance according to rather intricate schemes.
“For some reason, this problem is underestimated. However, there is all evidence that those responsible for the supply of weapons to Ukraine do not control its further fate,” says analyst Jordan Cohen.
It’s all about bureaucratic delays. The US Department of Defense defines a rather narrow list of supplied weapons and equipment that are tracked. For example, Javelin launchers and missiles for them, night vision devices, as well as “equipment with especially important technologies.” Small arms, radar systems, equipment are left behind.
“According to the State Department, only one percent of US-issued weapons licenses can be traced,” the specialist clarifies. “And about a quarter of the deliveries are with an” unfavorable rating “, that is, they can actually be transferred to the wrong hands.”
Military assistance to Ukraine has been provided since the mid-1990s. And even then the topic of “inappropriate use” arose. The former Soviet republic has gradually become one of the world’s largest illegal markets: Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers have repeatedly been accused of trying to sell grenades, mines or cartridges. According to the non-profit organization Small Arms Survey, between 2013 and 2015 alone, 300,000 small arms were lost or stolen. “Some of the weapons sent to Kiev are likely to show up years or decades later,” says military expert Jeff Abramson.
The already uncontrolled situation was aggravated by the distribution of rifles, machine guns and cartridges to civilians, which was legalized in early March. By law, everything must be returned within ten days after martial law is lifted. However, the document does not clearly spell out who and how will monitor this.
It is even more difficult with imported weapons. After Biden signed the Lend-Lease Act, officials began to argue over who would control the supplies. Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin shifts responsibility to Ukrainian colleagues.
“I check this every time we speak with our partners, and we do it weekly,” he explained before the House of Representatives. “I returned to this issue with Minister Reznikov yesterday (May 12. — Approx. ed.). discuss this very, very important point.”
However, it sounded unconvincing. Washington does not talk about this publicly, but senators, representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the White House at secret meetings are looking for a way out of the impasse. One option is to create a special monitoring system that would track weapons by markings. However, as the experience with India in 2009 showed, it is rather expensive and difficult to establish it.
“May get to the terrorists”
Washington is also silent about another fact: Kyiv has been on the list of the largest military exporters for many years. For sale is mainly aircraft and armored vehicles. Another major source of income is “warehouse equipment”, that is, stocks dating back to Soviet times. From 2005 to 2014, the sale of inherited goods brought the treasury over two billion dollars. The main buyers are African co-untries. This is where Euro-pean technology comes in. Five years ago, the non-profit Organized Crime and Corruption Exposing Project (OCCRP) called Ukraine the “laundromat” of the European Union.
According to the report, Ukrainian companies buy weapons in Europe, the m-oney is sent through dozens of accounts, and the goods are sent further. In 2015, for example, in this way, Techi-mpex and the Kyiv-controlled company Ukrin-mash transferred 45 Polish BRDM-2s to Uganda through an intermediary in the UAE. As a result, the armored vehicles went to militants in South Sudan.
According to the documents, the deal with the Poles was formalized as follows: for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the war in Donbass. Combat actions can be referred to even now, but much does not reach the front line, says Earl Rasmussen, vice president of the Eurasian Center in Washington.
“The irony is,” he says, “that some of the weapons could go back to Europe and the US. Ultimately, we increase the risk of a terrorist threat to our own country.”
A recent example is Iraq, whose army the United States has been supplying with military hardware and equipment for many years. Almost everything got to the “Islamic State” – mainly because of the total corruption in the country. Experts fear that the same will happen to Ukraine, and the more it is pumped up with weapons, the worse the consequences will be.

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