Illegal Arms

Traditional and usual arms thefts in the context of conflicts happen in Ukraine, too. Finnish Peace Committee has accumulated some reports on disclosure of arms caches by Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies.

The Ukrainian online portal Donbas News writes about the report of the police department of the Donetsk region (in the part controlled by the government) that they uncovered a huge cache of weapons in two buildings in the territory of the former children’s summer camp located in the Volnovakha district of the region. The police seized a Shmel fire launcher, 34 mines together with blasting caps, 33 grenade launchers, 45 grenades for the launchers, 73 grenade launcher charges, 8 anti-personnel mines, 6 antitank mines, 1682 14.5mm and 30 mm shells, 367 grenades and 47 grenade charges as well as 14 173 cartridges and a sniper rifle and Kalashnikov submachine guns. The police claim that one Kalashnikov was registered to a military unit in the Crimea at the time of its annexation in 2014. They also report that the operation removing the entire arsenal lasted more than 10 hours. Volnovakha is one of 18 district centres of the Donetsk region.

The Ukrainian Telegram channel Chergoviy OOS reported on April 24th the seizure of an ammunition cache in a former industrial building in the village of Yavora in the Lviv region, in western Ukraine. The Ukrainian security police SBU seized 400 grams of trotyl explosive, a RPG-26 grenade launcher, 7 grenades and 5 grenade charges. The channel sarcastically recommends that SBU inspect the ammunition storage facilities of the Yavor military training ground. According to the NATO PowerPoint on Yavoriv Training Centre, it occupies a 391 square km plot. Its full name is the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Yavoriv. In the last years it is often reported as the ground for joint training between Ukraine’s AF and NATO.

On April 23rd the same Chergoviy OOS Telegram channel disclosed an ammunition cache in Ukraine’s Kherson region. Referring to the police, the arms must have been stolen from the conflict area in Donbass. The cache was found in an abandoned building; the police seized 400 cartridges, three antitank and anti-personnel mines, a grenade and charges. This report is confirmed by a publication of censor.net portal.

On April 18, 2020, korrespondent.net reported disclosed an ammunition cache in the village of Yurevka in the Donetsk region (controlled by the government), near Mariupol. The police seized 35 firearms. The article also mentions that police managed to catch two people whose cars were stopped during raids and weapons found there.

According to Chas Pik online portal , on March 30th police seized 40 artillery shells, two RPG-26 and RPG-22 grenade launchers, 5 hand grenades, 3 grenade launcher mines, 4 charges and almost 2000 cartridges in a residential building in the town of Severodonetsk, Luhansk region (part controlled by Ukraine).

On March 27 korrespondent.net reported a cache in the vicinity of the city of Slavyansk (controlled by the government part of Ukraine). The cache contained some 30 kg of plastic explosive.

The Vinnitsa city online portal (267 km southwest of Kiev) reports the disclosure of a cache in the forested area by the village of Maidan on March 24th. There were 3 antipersonnel mines and one charge for them in the cache which belonged to a local resident with a criminal background.

On March 20 korrespondent.net portal reported two caches in the government-controlled part of the Luhansk region. The article refers to the police stating that a resident of the town of Lisichansk with a criminal background stored a large quantity of explosives, shells and cartridges in the forest.

On March 19th the Ukrainian Center for Journalist Investigations reported on the seizure of weapons in Luhansk region (part controlled by the government). The cache was located in the forested area near a village in the Novopskovsky district of the Luhansk region. It contained an antitank grenade launcher, 2 RG grenades, two AK-72 submachine guns as well as a large quantity of cartridges.

The same portal reported the seizure of illegal weapons from a resident of Odessa on March 2nd: two machine guns, two rifles, a handgun, an aim, 4 jars of gunpowder, almost 500 cartridges as well as 1500 cartridge-cases. The man claimed he found some of the ammunition using a metal detector and bought the rest via the Internet.

In February 2020 a large ammunition cache was detected in the immediate vicinity of the contact line in the Luhansk region, according to the Levyy Bereg online portal. In the area of the Trekhizbenka village (part controlled by the government), the police uncovered a cache which was mined in the perimeter with 6 antitank mines. The cache contained 92 artillery shells, a hand grenade RPG-18 launcher, 5 hand grenades, 2500 cartridges.