According to Finnish authorities, weapons sent to Ukraine have been found in the hands of criminal groups in the Nordic country. “We will be dealing with these weapons for decades,” said a police officer dealing with this case.
As quoted by Finnish state media Yle on October 30, Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said it had information that criminals in the country got their hands on military weapons, such as assault rifles, intended for the Ukrainian forces.
“Weapons shipped [par divers pays] to Ukraine were also found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands,” NBI investigator Christer Ahlgren told the media.
Last summer, Europol (the European Criminal Police Agency) warned of the proliferation of firearms and explosives in Ukraine, which the agency said could lead to increased trafficking to the EU, via established smuggling routes or online platforms.
The NBI did not release further details about the weapons being trafficked to Finland, saying investigations were still ongoing. But Christer Ahlgren nevertheless provided some information on the networks that are already in place: “Three of the largest motorcycle gangs in the world – which are part of larger international organizations – are active in Finland. One of them is the Bandidos MC, which has a unit in every major Ukrainian city. We know that contacts and routes [de contrebande] are being established.”
“Ukraine has received a large volume of weapons and that’s a good thing, but we will be dealing with these weapons for decades and paying the price here,” said Christer Ahlgren, still quoted by Yle media. . Today, security checks are mandatory for airport staff, but similar checks are not required for dockworkers, giving criminals a doorway into Finnish ports, according to the police chief. “Criminal organizations have their networks in Finnish commercial ports. It is in everyone’s interest to put an end to this situation,” he concluded.
Since the launch of the Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, Western countries have increased the supply of arms to the Ukrainian authorities. Washington and its European allies denounce a war of Russian invasion that does not respond to any Ukrainian provocation. Russia, for its part, justified its military offensive by arguing, in particular, the need to protect the populations of Donbass, whose local authorities have been in conflict with kyiv since 2014.