According to a Europol report, criminal networks are smuggling “significant quantities of firearms and ammunition” from Ukraine into the EU. Based on the report, the “SWR” reported that refugees would also carry weapons for self-defense.
According to the European police authority Europol, there are indications of organized arms smuggling from Ukraine. This is reported by the “SWR”. Several cases of individuals attempting to leave Ukraine with firearms have been reported to the agency. In addition, European authorities believe that arms caches may be set up along Ukraine’s border with the EU to organize smuggling. This emerges from a letter from Europol to the Council of the European Union dealing with the effects of the war in Ukraine and the terrorist threat to the European Union. The “SWR” has the document.
Europol further writes: “EU Member States and operational partners have reported cases where criminal networks are active in the region and operate or plan to smuggle significant quantities of firearms and ammunition, including military weapons.”
According to the police agency, there is also evidence that criminals operating from Ukraine hide firearms along the green border with the EU and then return via official border crossings to bring the weapons to the European side.
MEP Özlem Demirel of the left sees the danger that weapons supplied by the Bundeswehr could also enter the EU illegally and end up on the black market. “Even the German assault rifles that Frau von der Leyen had delivered to the Peshmerga as Defense Minister at the time were available for purchase on Iraqi markets a short time later,” Demirel told SWR.
The Greens parliamentary group vice and member of the interior committee in the Bundestag, Konstatin von Notz, tells the SWR that one has to learn from the experiences of past wars: “We know from the difficult experiences of the Kosovo war in the 90s that weapons of war pose a relevant security risk weapons from crisis and war zones often diffuse into the areas of extremism and organized crime.” Von Notz demands that internationally coordinated concepts and effective whereabouts controls are needed immediately in order to effectively curb the danger of arms smuggling.
Another problem, according to Europol, is that countries that have taken in larger numbers of refugees have expressed concern that some Ukrainian refugees are carrying firearms for self-defense. Before joining the EU, these weapons and ammunition would be left behind in the border area. According to the authorities, such ammunition depots have already been discovered and there is a risk that these weapons could also get into the hands of criminal gangs.
The document also notes that some Ukrainian refugees are suspected of bringing concealed firearms across the border to sell in the EU. It is suspected that the refugees want to use the weapons to exchange them for goods and services. In some cases, according to the police department, taxi rides have allegedly already been paid for with firearms.