Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that some Western weapons destined for Ukraine reach the Middle East through the illegal arms market and are sold to the Taliban.
Putin added, “They now say that weapons reach the Middle East through Ukraine. Yes, of course that happens because they are sold. The weapons are sold to the Taliban and from there they move to elsewhere.”
Since Russia began its war in Ukraine on February 24 of last year, Western countries have sent weapons worth tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine in an effort to defeat Russian forces.
Ukraine says it subjects any weapons imported to it to strict oversight, but some Western security officials have raised concerns about it, while the United States has asked Ukraine to do more to tackle corruption.
In June 2022, the head of the International Police Organization (Interpol), Jürgen Stock, warned that some of the advanced weapons sent to Ukraine would end up in the hands of organized crime groups.
A report on the Ukraine war and the illegal arms trade issued by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime last March said: “Currently, no significant quantities of weapons are exiting the conflict zone in Ukraine.”
“All precedents indicate that if the threat is not dealt with proactively and innovatively once the current war ends, Ukrainian battlefields will turn into a new warehouse of chaos that will arm all the rebels in Africa and the gangsters on the streets of Europe,” the report added.
According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which tracks donors, the eight major Western countries led by the United States have made military commitments to Ukraine worth more than 84 billion euros ($90 billion).
US military support includes 160 155 mm howitzers, 109 Bradley fighting vehicles, more than 111 million rounds of small arms ammunition, and 38 highly mobile artillery systems that fire rockets.