Finland’s national law enforcement agency, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), has warned that weapons being shipped to Ukraine are ending up in the hands of criminal gangs.
The Finnish broadcaster YLE reported Sunday that a preliminary investigation conducted by the NBI found that criminals in Finland may have captured military arms sent to Ukraine.
“We’ve seen signs of these weapons already finding their way to Finland,” Christer Ahlgren, the NBI’s detective superintendent, told YLE. Ahlgren said that weapons shipped to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
Ahlgren didn’t specify what type of weapons criminals were getting hold of, and the Yle report only mentioned rifles. He said that the routes for trafficking the weapons from Ukraine were already in place and said motorcycle gangs were involved in the activity.
“Three of the world’s largest motorcycle gangs—that are part of larger international organizations—are active in Finland. One of these is Bandidos MC, which has a unit in every major Ukrainian city,” Ahlgren said.
There’s been virtually no oversight of the tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons that the US and its NATO allies have been pouring into Ukraine. Back in April, one source briefed on US intelligence told CNN that sending weapons into Ukraine was like dropping the arms into a “big black hole.”
In August, CBS released a short documentary that quoted the head of an NGO that helps get military equipment to Ukraine, who estimated only 30%-40% of the arms are making it to the frontlines. The documentary was quickly retracted after pressure from the Ukrainian government, and CBS said that the 30% estimation was based on figures in April.
Ahlgren said that officials in the region will have to deal with the influx of arms for years to come. “Ukraine has received a large volume of weapons and that’s good, but we’re going to be dealing with these arms for decades and pay the price here,” he said.