Swedish law enforcement suggests some of the weapons supplied to Kyiv may end up in gang arsenals
Swedish police have raised concerns that weapons delivered to Ukraine by its Western allies could travel to the Scandinavian country and end up in the arsenals of criminal gangs once the conflict ends.
Speaking to Swedish Radio on Monday, Crime Commissioner Gunnar Appelgren warned: “there is probably a high risk of illegal arms flows entering Swedenwhen peace is restored in Ukraine.
The official explained that while weapons are now in high demand in the country’s conflict zones, when hostilities end, Ukrainians will be left with a surplus of weapons. Criminal groups could try to monetize the situation, according to Appelgren.
The police commissioner noted that most of the weapons currently used by criminal gangs in Sweden come from the Balkan wars of the 1990s.”Lots of automatic weapons arrived, AK47s,said Appelgren, adding that hand grenades also made their way to Sweden a few years ago.
Sweden, among other European countries as well as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, has provided arms and ammunition to Ukraine to help it repel the Russian military offensive launched at the end of February by President Vladimir Putin.
In recent years, the Scandinavian nation has seen an increase in violent crime, with street gangs settling scores with guns – something Appelgren appeared to be referring to, saying: “we have conflicts in Sweden.”
Ylva Johansson, a Swedish politician serving as EU home affairs commissioner, echoed the police commissioner’s concerns in late May. The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter quoted her as saying:with Putin’s war in Ukraine, we see a very high risk of an increase in criminal arms trafficking.”
During his visit to the Moldavian-Romanian border, Johansson also noted that “long after the war in the former Yugoslavia, we see the consequences in Sweden, where weapons of war are used in criminal shootings.”
The EU official pledged at the time that the European Commission would present a proposal to prevent, detect and investigate the illegal trade in firearms by the end of the summer.
Experts quoted in the Dagens Nyheter article as well as Johansson warned that criminals in Sweden could even potentially get their hands on armour-piercing bullets smuggled in from Ukraine.
At the end of May, the head of Europol, Catherine De Bolle, told the German media that one of the major concerns of her organization was the “where are the weapons that are currently being delivered to Ukraine?“She too compared the current situation to”that of 30 years ago during the Balkan war.”
You can share this story on social media: