Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
This week two simultaneous international reports on Ukraine emerged. Both documents carry a shade of scandalousness and claim that Kiev participates in shady weapons deals with Africa and the Middle East.
The authors of the reports are two authoritative western structures: “Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)” and Amnesty International.
They say that weapons from Ukraine go to third world countries where civil conflicts rage – Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda, Chad, Burundi.
For deliveries a chain of intermediary firms is used – in order to “wash” the weapons and to sell them to warring States, officially standing aside.
Ukraine legalizes someone else’s weapons
Kiev is the main intermediary for the resale of weapons from Eastern Europe to third world countries. Such is the main thesis of OCCRP.
The investigators present the scheme according to which this mechanism works:
- The private Ukrainian company “Techimpex” buys the weapons under the guise of spare parts from producers in different countries of Eastern Europe – Poland, Slovakia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- It resells the goods to State enterprises in the structure of “Ukrspecexport” (the report specifically talks about the Ukrinmash company).
- “Ukrinmash” adds its margin (from 9 to 17%), and then sells the ready weapons already under the Ukrainian brand to African clients – Chad, Burundi, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates.
- From there the weapons, also through a number of firm-“layers”, flow in conflict zones – in particular, Southern Sudan, which is under UN embargo.
Mysterious “Techimpex” and S-Profit
The Ukrainian company “Techimpex”, which, according to OCCRP, performs “dirty work” by buying and reselling “weapon spare parts” worldwide, has a number of obvious connections with the Ukrainian military-industrial complex.
The owner of “Techimpex”, Evgeny Vashchilin, worked in “Ukrinmash” 10 years ago. His father (and the co-founder of “Techimpex”) Viktor Vashchilin headed the State Service of Export of Ukraine – the regulator of the export of arms in the 1990’s.
The S-Profit company has an English registration, but its owner is Ukrainian, says Amnesty International, without mentioning the name of the beneficiary. This is one more “layer” through which weapon spare parts are bought worldwide (at least it’s precisely in this way that they are mentioned according to documents).
Later they are sold to “Techimpex”.
It should be noted that in the company the existence of such schemes is rejected, and it is said that such messages “discredit not so much our Company, but all the defense industry complex of Ukraine before the Ukrainian and the world community”.
The West closed its eyes to shady deliveries
Besides S-Profit, in the British jurisdiction many other firms exist, which, using the ease of registration, carry out shady weapons deals, says Amnesty.
“South Sudan is awash with weapons that have been used to kill and maim thousands of civilians, causing Africa’s biggest refugee crisis. The UK government has been a vocal proponent of a UN arms embargo on South Sudan, yet is turning a blind eye to illegal deals taking place right under its nose,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Head of Arms Control and Human Rights.
Thus, in Britain the problem is known, but owing to some reasons they don’t wish to solve it, complains Amnesty.
Amnesty International provided to the British authorities the documents and information that it received. In the report it is also specified that the government of Great Britain has known for more than eight years that British fictitious companies are used illegally as intermediaries of dealers for arms supplies to violators of human rights and to countries under an embargo, including Syria, Eritrea, and South Sudan.
Conclusion No. 1: The scheme is under the West’s umbrella
Following what was said by human rights activists it is possible to draw a discouraging conclusion. The countries of Eastern Europe that are mostly in NATO or in its orbit, with the connivance of the leading countries of the West (for example, Great Britain), are engaged in unofficial arms supplies in zones of bloody conflicts. And Ukraine became one of the main “trans-shipment” points of this scheme.
Conclusion No. 2: Why was this scheme illuminated?
The leakage of sensational information happened exactly at a moment when in the US the question of granting lethal arms to Kiev is actively discussed. At the same time near Vinnitsa warehouses with weapons started to burn.
These events that on the surface doesn’t seem to be connected to each other can give to Washington a justifiable reason not to deliver weapons to Ukraine. After all, Kiev “suddenly” proved to be completely incapable of protecting these deliveries – both from incidental explosions and illegal resale abroad.
Thus, to write off this leak as “the hand of the Kremlin” isn’t really possible. Both organizations that illuminated the information – OCCRP and Amnesty International – are connected with Western countries, and not with Moscow.
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