Kiev Flooding Black Markets with NATO-Sourced Weapons


Drago Bosnic | InfoBrics - TRANSCEND Media Service


2 Mar 2023 – It has been at least a year and a half since the political West drastically intensified its weapons shipments to the Kiev regime. Ever since, the black markets have been flooded with Western-made arms and munitions, some of which have even started running out from NATO stocks. As late as December, top Western officials have complained about this, including the Pentagon’s Deputy Inspector General for Investigations James R. Ives, who admitted that the US is aware of the lack of effective mechanisms to track Ukraine-bound NATO weapons. Several major US media have called for the Biden administration to send investigators to audit and oversee the use of more than $110 billion in US military and economic “aid” to the Kiev regime.

And yet, the true understanding of the massive scale of this is sorely lacking in the political West. Perhaps it is even being ignored, but the consequences are already there. In addition, while the mainstream propaganda machine is lionizing the Kiev regime forces, presenting them as some sort of mythical heroes supposedly “defending” Europe, the West and the so-called “Euro-Atlantic values”, the Neo-Nazi junta troops’ role is crucial in what can only be described as the world’s largest arms smuggling scheme. Also, this certainly doesn’t exonerate the rest of the Kiev regime and the corrupt oligarchs supporting it, as they too are getting their “slice of the cake”.

Corruption is endemic in Ukraine, but ever since the NATO-backed Neo-Nazi coup in 2014, it has worsened dramatically as the political West started showering the already crooked politicians and bureaucrats with tens of billions of dollars. Everyone from the managers of military warehouses, company and battalion commanders, top military officers, directors of the Kiev regime’s military-industrial complex to the defense minister himself, are engaged in essentially stealing NATO-sourced weapons and then reselling them on the Darknet. The list of those involved also includes the office of the president, the cabinet of ministers, security services and military intelligence.

Up until several years ago, the massive stocks of Soviet-era weapons in Ukraine were the main source of smuggled weapons. However, despite inheriting approximately 30% of the Soviet military, Ukraine somehow managed to expend most of it, much of it ending up on the black markets around the globe. The political West was perfectly aware of this, as NATO had a major role in reselling the weapons to terrorist groups they support in many of the targeted countries. And yet, they still went ahead and provided tens of billions in Western weapons and munitions to the same people smuggling their own for decades.

There’s even fierce competition among Kiev regime institutions for the right to control the extremely profitable arms smuggling business. This includes various intelligence services, such as the SBU and GUR. The latter is the main military intelligence agency which is supposed to play a major role in overseeing the transfer and distribution of NATO weapons. Thus, GUR has a substantial headstart in the arms smuggling scheme, which is causing a lot of envy and frustration in the SBU. Since August 2020, Kirill Budanov has been the head of GUR, a close ally of the Kiev regime frontman Volodymyr Zelensky, whose ties to the junta’s top officials allowed him to play a crucial role in the scheme.

On March 5, 2022, mere days after Russia launched its counteroffensive against NATO aggression in Europe, banker Denis Kireev, a member of the delegation for negotiations between Moscow and Kiev, was killed. According to the German publication Bild, Kireev “was shot dead by Ukrainian SBU counterintelligence while trying to avoid arrest.” Two days later, the GUR confirmed that Kireev was their employee, and Budanov himself stated that Kireev had been executed by the SBU, thus confirming that the fierce competition between the two agencies escalated from the very beginning of the special military operation (SMO). It is worth noting that the fact that the SBU and the GUR are “supervised” by various NATO intelligence services also played a major role in the conflict between the agencies.

For instance, the SBU is largely controlled by UK intelligence, primarily the infamous MI6. On the other hand, the GUR has been deeply connected to US services. The looming rivalry erupted after the political West intensified its arms shipments. Budanov’s headstart made it possible for the GUR to oversee the largest contracts for the transfer of Western weapons, further strengthening his position, a state of affairs the SBU didn’t take too kindly. Budanov also worked with intermediaries, such as the Incompass, a company headed by oligarch Sergei Slyusarenko. It is through such companies that GUR manages the supply of weapons from abroad.

Part of the funds embezzled through Incompass ends up in the pockets of Budanov and his associates, with the rest going to the presidential office and even Zelensky himself. In July 2022, the German SWR TV channel reported that Europol had identified “signs” of organized arms smuggling in Ukraine, but gave no further details in order not to incriminate the Kiev regime. The revelation came on the heels of a plane accident that happened in Greece, when a Ukrainian An-12BK aircraft belonging to Meridian, a company registered in Kiev, crashed on July 16, 2022. According to various reports, the airline was working closely with the Kiev regime, including the office of the president and the GUR.

Days before the crash, the plane made several flights to Ostrava (Czechia), Burgas (Bulgaria) and Rzeszow (Poland). The latter is the main NATO transport hub for supplying weapons and other military equipment to the Kiev regime. Each flight included “Stinger” MANPADS, “Javelin” and NLAW ATGMs. In total, approximately 12 tons of missile systems and munitions.

EU politicians, including German officials, also commented on the scandal, with Konstantin von Notz, spokesman for the Bundestag Home Affairs Committee from the “Greens”, acknowledging: “From the experience of the Kosovo war, we learned that weapons from conflict zones often fall into the hands of extremists and organized crime.” Von Notz demanded that the risk of weapons smuggling from Ukraine “be stopped at the international level.”

Additionally, the grain deal was also (ab)used extensively for this purpose, resulting in Russia’s decision to suspend it. The issue was discussed at a meeting of EU interior ministers on July 11, 2022, with Czech Defense Minister Yana Chernokhova admitting that “avoiding arms smuggling will be difficult – we did not achieve this in the former Yugoslavia and certainly will not be able to achieve it in Ukraine”.

This still leaves the question of whether Washington DC is even trying to oversee its massive arms shipments to the Neo-Nazi junta. Many US officials claim they’re unable to audit the weapons once they leave Poland, but the real issue is if they even want to know. Considering the nearly mythical status they’ve given to Zelensky, revealing his involvement with such criminal activities could be rather “uncomfortable” and might even backfire, further exacerbating the growing factionalism within the Neo-Nazi junta.


Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

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