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Many of Western arms in Ukraine will end up in black market: Interpol

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian servicemen unpack a shipment of military aid delivered as part of US security assistance to Ukraine, at the Boryspil airport, outside the capital, Kiev, on February 11, 2022. (Photo by AP)

The International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, has warned that many of the arms being sent by the West to Ukraine will ultimately end up in criminal hands in Europe and beyond.

Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock sounded the alert on Wednesday, more than three months after Russia began a military offensive in Ukraine that prompted a raging flood of arms from the United States and its European allies into the ex-Soviet country.

“The high availability of weapons during the current conflict will result in the proliferation in illicit arms in the post-conflict phase,” he said, urging countries to start scrutinizing arms-tracking databases.

Interpol fears that such a huge flow of arms to Ukraine will only empower organized crime groups that have become increasingly involved in global operations, capable of exploiting the chaos created after the onset of the war in Ukraine.

A number of European countries, including France and Germany, along with the US, have so far shipped tons of military equipment, artillery munitions, and guns with a declared aim of helping Ukraine against the Russian troops.

“This will come, I have no doubts... Criminals are already now, here as we speak, focusing on that,” Stock told the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris, where he traveled to from Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon, southeast France.

His remarks came just a day after US President Joe Biden announced that Washington would now send “more advanced rocket systems and munitions” to Ukraine.

Stock further warned that even the heavy weapons used by the military would be available on the criminal market.

“We are already encouraging member countries, we have a database on sharing information on weapons, to use these databases because no region or country can deal with it in isolation,” he added, stressing, “The criminals I’m talking about are operating globally, so these weapons will be exchanged across continents.”

The Interpol chief said that the war in Ukraine had also triggered a surge in “large-scale fertilizer thefts as well as increased counterfeit agro-chemicals, as these commodities have become increasingly valuable.”

Stock also warned that the rise in fuel prices would also lead to a rise in fuel theft in Europe and other regions of the world.

Moscow has time and again warned that the current flood of arms into Ukraine would prolong the conflict.

Kiev, which hopes to outdo Russia both technologically and in terms of artillery quantity, heavily relies on its Western allies to procure weapons.

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