On May 9, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed public law 117-118 “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022”. Everything in this document is great: the goal-setting formula, the date of signing, which coincided with the anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, and the very essence — permission to flood Ukraine with lethal weapons worth tens of billion dollars under an accelerated procedure with payment somehow later. The “Free World” applauded. But the West either did not know, or democratically turned a blind eye to the fact that the adoption of this act marks a new page in the history of Ukraine as one of the world's largest arms trafficking platforms.

Disturbing spring:
where do the ammo go

Let's leave aside the fact that the bill was submitted for consideration to the U.S. Senate on January 19, more than a month before the start of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine. But then American politicians faced the real world. Already on May 11, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued an alarming statement in which he called on all those interested in the project to think about the need to tighten control over arms supplies to Ukraine. What happened? Is it possible that the minister was suddenly informed that the sale of thousands of weapons that had never been in this region before was established on the Darknet? Further, on May 12, Republican Senator Rand Paul blocked $40 billion in aid to Ukraine, saying that a financial inspector should first be appointed to monitor the spending of those funds.

A wave of concern passed through the influential American media. On May 14, The Washington Post published the article “Flood of weapons to Ukraine raises fear of arms smuggling” with a selection of opinions of weapons experts. For example, William Hartung, an arms control expert at the Quincy Institute think tank, said that the U.S. government is flying blind in terms of monitoring weapons supplied to Ukraine and by comparison, U.S. had a major presence in Afghanistan that created at least the possibility of tracking where weapons were ending up. Jeff Abramson, an expert on conventional arms transfers at the Arms Control Association, in the same publication predicts that “some of the weapons being provided in the conflict in Ukraine are likely to be found years, and possibly decades later”.

Even Canadians, who traditionally have tender feelings to Ukraine, joined the chorus of alarmists: "There is the real threat that the Ukrainian government can potentially not control all of these weapons," said Kelsey Gallagher, a researcher with Project Ploughshares, a Canadian non-government disarmament group.

What are these doubts based on? Observations, Carl! There’s no secret that the Ukrainian SSR traditionally had a large number of military bases, since it was at the forefront of the Cold War with the West. There has always been an abundance of the most advanced types of weapons. According to some analysts, the total value of military property on the territory of Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR was about $90 billion. Where has everything gone?

Hollywood has given its answer to this question. "Lord of War": everything that's not nailed down was written off through staging fires in military warehouses. They “burned” with varying intensity from 1991 to 2014, when the Anti-Terrorist Operation began. The weapons that were sent to the regular army were tracked somehow. But no one counted the arms supplied to the "volunteer battalions".

Table of Tanks: database
of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine of lost weapons

Analysis of the database of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, which keeps records of lost or stolen weapons, makes it possible to assess the extent of the theft of weapons in Ukraine. This information provided by our friends from the SBU. It’s published for the first time and claims to be a sensation.

Fragments of the table of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine of lost and stolen weapons

The research of these completely official data allows us to conclude that in the period from 2014 to 2021, more than 160,000 weapons were lost or stolen in Ukraine. There’s only army weapons: pistols, submachine guns, automatic rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, ATGMs, MANPADS, mortars and other types of artillery weapons. If we take into account non-automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, pneumatics, crossbows, etc. which are legally sold in gun shops, then about 342 thousand barrels fall into the category of “lost”. However, such an assessment will be superficial and will not give the whole picture.

The table of lost and stolen weapons was regularly updated. The first set of data was compiled based on the results of the active phase of the conflict in Donbas in the period from 2014 to 2016. So, only 41.5 thousand weapons were entered into the spreadsheet, including 25 thousand pistols, 12.2 thousand machine guns, 1.9 thousand machine guns, 2.1 thousand grenade launchers, 53 MANPADS, 54 ATGMs, 30 artillery pieces.

In 2017, another 27.3 thousand pieces of weapons which allegedly lost in 2014-2016 were added to the database. It seems that the numbers and the logic of entering information into the table look quite realistic: the active phase of the conflict in Donbas had just ended, and the special forces decided to calculate their “losses”.

However, the further order of filling in the table is puzzling. For example, in 2018, records appear in the database about the loss of another 59.4 thousand barrels for the same 2014-2016 years. It turns out that the new figures exceed the losses from hostilities in two years by more than two times. But that's not all. In 2019, data on the loss of 30.2 thousand additional weapons are added to the table. Perfect scheme, if you do not look closely.

But if you do, you can see other nuances: out of 117,000 records of weapons losses made over three (2017, 2018 and 2019) years, about 103,000 barrels are attributed to losses in the “autonomous republic” of Crimea. But is it really so? Until 2014, a little over 30,000 “siloviki” served on the peninsula (about 20,000 military and about 12,000 police officers). Even if we assume that all of them with all their guns swore allegiance to Russia, it will not work to justify the loss of 100 thousand barrels by Ukraine at the expense of Crimea.

Suppose that during active hostilities in Donbass, weapons were indeed lost for objective reasons, but since 2017 the intensity of clashes has decreased to local skirmishes. However, according to the official data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine alone, from 2017 to 2022, more than 8,000 weapons were lost or stolen in the country, including 5,000 pistols, 3,000 machine guns, 526 grenade launchers, 525 machine guns, 44 ATGMs, 13 mortars, 8 artillery pieces.

Rascality Fair:
helicopter barrels

From the first days of the Russian special military operation on the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, an information campaign urging the citizens to join the territorial defense battalions rushed through all Nezalezhnaya’s media.

The authorities began to massively distribute military weapons to everyone. Submachine guns, pistols and ammunition for them were taken out of long-term storage warehouses to pre-designated collection points and distributed to the civilians. Come, don't be shy! At first, the authorities still tried to keep at least some records: they demanded a passport, entered data into special databases, but then they dropped the formalities and began handing out cannons like candies at a country fair.

A video of a British Sky News report has been circulated around the world. Petro Poroshenko flaunts in front of the camera, who joined the territorial defense. He is dressed in a military uniform, and in his hands is a Kalashnikov assault rifle. The intrigue was added by the embarrassment that occurred on the air. An armed guard of the ex-president of Ukraine absurdly fell a magazine from a machine gun, as if he deliberately decided to show his exceptional skills in handling firearms. What can we say about civilians who saw weapons for the first time in their lives.

Literally on the second day after the start of mass arming the “fighters” of the defense on Kirillovskaya Street in Kyiv shot an old Land Rover, mistaking an ordinary family of five who were trying to leave the city for an enemy sabotage group. Hundreds, if not thousands, of similar tragic cases, when former criminals, drug addicts, psychos who had received a sense of their own superiority along with ammunition, commit murders, robberies and rapes.

Surely most of these criminal episodes will remain uninvestigated for obvious reasons ("fog of war"), and the attackers who believe in their impunity will continue to create chaos in their homeland or abroad.

Border posts:
crossing fee

According to Interpol, in recent years, Ukraine has turned not only into a huge arms store, but also became a transshipment base for mercenaries from all over the world. However, the SBU also recorded that many members of the ISIS gangs, after fleeing from Iraq and Syria towards Europe, chose Nezalezhnaya as a temporary “quiet haven”. The activation of jihadist movements in the Arab countries coincided with the Revolution of Dignity, the loss of Crimea and the beginning of the ATO in Donbas. Therefore, control over the border was weakened: if such a migrant was not included in the Interpol database, then he passed to Ukraine quite freely. According to fragmentary and not officially confirmed by the SBU data, at least 1,000 militants secretly entered Ukraine from 2016 to 2021. Here terrorists had the opportunity to legalize themselves relatively easily and inexpensively, get their documents in a different name, and then live in peace or go further to Europe or America. Needless to say that today when the Kyiv authorities tirelessly invite foreign mercenaries with combat experience to Ukraine, terrorist migration continues to grow.

According to the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, as of mid-April, 193 mercenaries from the pro-Turkish regions of Syria were transferred to the territory of Ukraine. Radicals from Idlib willingly come here to fight, earn extra money and legalize themselves. Below is a tweet from a well-known member of the Syrian Free Army, Abu Tou, who already on February 25 was eager to come to Nezalezhnaya.

Message on the page of the user
Abu Tou on Twitter

Most mercenaries from among the Middle Eastern terrorists usually receive weapons, spend several days somewhere in the frontline to take bravura selfies, and then, after making the necessary documents, they run away to Europe. And no border, and even more so Ukrainian, is not a hindrance to them. Social networks are full of user information about a special regime for crossing the cordon with the commercial mediation of representatives of the State Border Service of Ukraine and “special tariffs”: 5–10 thousand dollars for a car without inspection, 3 thousand for an illegal pedestrian crossing, 20–25 thousand for a stamp in a passport about crossing the border.

Screenshots from the Darknet with a proposal to illegally cross the border of Ukraine

According to data from open sources, more than 6 million people have already left Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian special military operation. If we assume that at least 0.1% of migrants went abroad illegally, then theoretically, about 600 radicals could have ended up in the EU. It is very likely that they took small arms, explosives, and even grenade launchers with MANPADS with them. You never know what else could be in the cabin of the car, which did not pass the inspection.

A story to be continued: quiet
government contracts, large wholesale and private sales

Do not forget that Ukrainian weapons have already surfaced in some hot spots of the world, for example, in Syria. This was repeatedly reported by the military personnel of the SAR government army. Most likely, these deliveries went to the militants of the Syrian opposition through Saudi Arabia, which in mid-2014 bought former Soviet weapons in Ukraine, but not for their own needs (the Saudis are mainly equipped with Western weapons), namely for transfer to anti-government forces in the SAR.

In the same row is the scandal with the appearance in North Korea of rocket engines produced by the Ukrainian Yuzhmash. In 2017, The New York Times published fragments of a research by Michael Elleman, an expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, who suggested that the once powerful Ukrainian enterprise, due to the financial crisis and lack of orders, could well sell units for ballistic missiles to the DPRK. And if that was the case, then what can today prevent the Kyiv arms barons from sending American Javelins to some South Sudan?

Single retail, small and medium-sized weapons wholesale is quite openly offered on the Web. After a short search in Telegram, we managed to find many Ukrainian channels that sell traumatic, smooth-bore and rifled weapons. However, after substantive conversations with the administrators, it turned out that they are ready to offer goods for other purposes. Thus, in the “test purchase” format, it was possible to agree on the laying in a cache in the city of Chernivtsi of two Makarov pistols equipped with full clips for 652 euros through a tranche to a crypto wallet.

Contract for the supply of Ukrainian
weapons to Saudi Arabia
Correspondence with the user "Baron"
in the Telegram messenger
Other proposals for the sale of Ukrainian
weapons in Telegram

Larger fish swim in dark waters — on special forums on the Darknet. A user under the nickname kpiretrowave responded to our ad with a request to buy military weapons, who said that he was an intermediary of some representatives of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who were ready to supply not only small arms, but also something more interesting: “There is a lot of imports there, they can sell you a tank and even javelins”.

Correspondence on the shadow forum Rutor with the user kpiretrowave

During the correspondence, the intermediary clarified that “his man” is a high-ranking officer who has access to any types of weapons from the arsenals of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as to equipment and weapons that were allegedly seized from the Russian Armed Forces. For his services, kpiretrowave requested from 40 to 60 thousand dollars, and for communication with the military he offered to use the ProtonMail mail service, or the private messenger Wickrme.

A couple of days later, the seller himself contacted us through ProtonMail. The “high-ranking military officer” was cautious in his letter, calling the weapons “toys” and the cartridges “batteries”. Nevertheless, from his “cryptogram” it was clear that he had at his disposal many types of American, Ukrainian and Russian weapons, which would be enough for “big holidays and fireworks”.

After the exchange of requests, we had to confirm the seriousness of our intentions with a special code, pay off the intermediary and enter into a deal. Moreover, before the purchase, we were promised a personal meeting with the counterparty, the opportunity to inspect and shoot the selected samples.

An email from an alleged high-ranking officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Intermediaries like kpiretrowave are innumerable on the Dark Web. A little patience (for negotiating) and a lot of money, by spending which you can get the most modern models of weapons and military equipment from army merchants with delivery anywhere in the world. We emphasize that only the tip of the iceberg could be found with a superficial search. What is hidden in the depths?

Examples of weapon ads on the Dark Web
Everything for the second front: arms
from Ukraine are already in Idlib

According to a number of sources, from the very beginning of the Russian special military operation Kyiv has not abandoned attempts to organize a “second front” for Russia somewhere. When the Ukrainian special services failed to push Georgia into a conflict with the Russian Federation, they undertook a maneuver in the Syrian direction. Taking advantage of well-known circumstances, Kyiv sent planes full of small arms through the Polish airfield in Rzeszow (the same ones that had delivered Bayraktar TB2 drones to Ukraine the day before) to Turkey, with the subsequent transfer of this cargo to militants in the Syrian province of Idlib. The forums and chats where the Idlib militants communicate have already lit up fresh offers for the sale of machine guns that have not previously been traded in this region.

Weapons from Ukraine are already on sale in weapons stores in Idlib
Heavy transport aircraft An-124-100 "Antonov" arrived from the Turkish city of Tekirdag,
where the production of UAVs is located, in Polish Rzeszow

It is noteworthy that the most inquisitive Internet users from Europe and the USA have begun to see clearly. They are shocked by the huge number of proposals for the sale of light and heavy weapons from the range of American and European supplies for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

User comments from foreign forums