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CNN: Western weapons headed to Ukraine last year were stolen before their recovery

by Abbey Fenbert July 21, 2023 5:25 AM 2 min read
A Boryspil airport vehicle pulls a shipment of weapons delivered to Ukraine from the United States in January 2022. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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Some Western-provided weapons sent to Ukraine in 2022 were stolen by criminals and arms dealers before they reached Ukrainian troops, according to a U.S. Defense Department inspector general report acquired by CNN.

Ukrainian intelligence services were able to recover the stolen weapons and equipment, the report stated.

The report, dated October 6, 2022 and titled "DoD's Accountability of Equipment Provided to Ukraine," details a number of criminal plots to steal weapons, ammunition, and battlefield equipment.

In June 2022, a Russian official at the helm of a criminal organization falsified documents in order to join a volunteer battalion, according to the report. The unnamed official then stole a grenade launcher, a machine gun, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Ukrainian intelligence services derailed the scheme.

Ukrainian intelligence services also thwarted plots by arms dealers to resell equipment stolen from the southern front line, the report said. In another instance, intelligence services uncovered a group of Ukrainian criminals pretending to be aid workers in order to steal bulletproof vests.

Ukrainian intelligence services also tracked down members of a volunteer battalion who stole rifles and ammunition likely intended for sale on the black market, the report stated.

The report described challenges to the U.S. Defense Department's monitoring efforts, including the "inability of DoD personnel to visit areas where equipment provided to Ukraine was being used or stored."

In February 2023, Colin Khal, the former under secretary of defense for policy, announced in a press conference that the U.S. was providing Ukraine with scanners and software to better track military equipment.

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