European Law Enforcement Organization (Europol) Director Catherine De Bolle expressed fears that the influx of weapons sent by the West to Ukraine could be used by criminal groups in the coming years.
De Bolle told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that at some point, the war will be over. “We want to avoid a situation like the one that followed the war in the Balkans 30 years ago,” she said in reference to the Yugoslav Wars’ aftermath.
She stated that massive amounts of weapons surfaced in Europe after the war ended and that these guns are used to this day by various criminal groups. This time, De Bolle wants Europe to be ready.
“The situation is highly dynamic and fragmented and we are receiving different figures from our European partners,” De Bolle said.
In response, Europol is finding a way to deal with the situation after a possible end to the war. This involves “assembling an international task force to address the presentiment,” De Bolle said.
Moscow has been repeatedly warning the West to stop shipping weapons to Ukraine. Fars News Agency website highlighted that this effort is just prolonging the conflict and hurting Russia instead of helping Ukraine.
Tyler Durden of the website Zero Hedge said that Kremlin has long highlighted far-right and neo-Nazi groups and the danger of arming them. Azov Battalion in particular had been on the front lines in what is now Russian-controlled Mariupol. The said battalion is believed to be the main Ukrainian fighting force in Donbas.
Moreover, Russia complained about Stinger missiles from the United States flooding the Ukrainian battlefield. These missiles pose a severe threat to military aircraft and may also endanger civilian aviation.
The looming concern on where the weaponry ends up after the war did not stop the Biden administration from reinforcing Ukraine with millions worth of sophisticated weapons.
Just recently, the U.S. unveiled a $700 million package of weapons for Ukraine in an urgent effort to prevent Russia from seizing the final swaths of land in the Donbas region. The high-technology rocket systems is yet to arrive as it will take at least three weeks to reach the battlefront. (Related: Russia’s nuclear forces hold drill as Biden approves more military aid for Ukraine.)
The Biden administration decided that it is worth the risk to send four medium-range rocket systems. This is after weeks of debate about whether this precision-guided weapons would elicit a strong military response from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We don’t have an interest in the conflict in Ukraine widening to a broader conflict or evolving into World War Three. So we’ve been mindful of that but at the same time, Russia doesn’t get a veto over what we send to the Ukrainians,” Defense Secretary for Policy Colin Kahl said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Ukrainians have given assurances that they will not use these systems against targets on Russian territory and that there is a strong trust bond between Ukraine and the United States.
Subsequently, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the U.S. is deliberately and diligently pouring fuel on the fire and that they do not believe Kyiv’s assurances that the multiple rocket launch systems will not be used for attacks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pleading with the West to send multiple-launch rocket systems as soon as possible to help stop Russia as these rockets have a longer range than the howitzer artillery systems that the U.S. has provided Ukraine. They would allow Ukrainian forces to strike Russian troops from a distance outside the range of Russia’s artillery systems.
However, Ukrainian troops still have to be trained on the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for about three weeks before they can go to battle.
The Department of Defense is sending four truck-mounted HIMARS systems to Ukraine. The trucks each carry a container with six rockets, which can travel about 70 kilometers (43.5 miles).
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