There have been “isolated reports” that weapons sent to Ukraine have been diverted away from the front line, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said
Some weapons supplied to Kiev by its Western backers could have changed hands before they had a chance to reach the frontline, UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey admitted on Thursday, without clarifying the exact amount or types of arms that allegedly lost their way.
Last week, Scottish MP Kenny MacAskill asked the minister to estimate the proportion of British military aid sent to Ukraine that had been resold before reaching the nation’s troops.
On Thursday, Heappey replied that the UK has “robust procedures” in place to ensure that all assistance going through the International Donor Coordination Centre is handed over to the Ukrainian army.
However, he conceded that “there have been isolated reports” – although extremely rare – saying that equipment given to Ukraine had been diverted away from the front line. He stopped short of providing any further detail.
Russia warns of Ukraine weapons spillover
Russia has repeatedly warned that Western weapons sent to Kiev are ending up in the hands of organized crime groups and terrorists, destabilizing the security situation in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
Those concerns were echoed by Seymour Hersh, a veteran US journalist and author of a bombshell report alleging that the Nord Stream gas pipeline blasts were orchestrated by Washington. In late April, he claimed that the West was well aware that its arms were being sold by Ukrainian commanders to smugglers in states such as Poland and Romania.
According to official figures, as of late March, the UK has committed £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) in military assistance to Ukraine since the start of the conflict in February 2022, second only to the US. Britain also hosts a training program for Ukrainian troops and is seeking to prepare as many as 30,000 soldiers by the end of 2023.
Moscow has on numerous occasions warned the West that supporting Ukraine with arms and training its troops makes it a direct participant in the conflict.