Are US Weapons Supplied To Ukraine Ending Up On DarkNet Marketplaces?
The lack of oversight for billions of dollars in US weapons pumped into Ukraine has concerned the Pentagon. They're worried about anti-tank missiles and explosive drones ending up in the "wrong hands."
A new investigation allegedly found some of these weapons are being sold on the dark web.
RT journalists pretended to be weapons buyers and claimed to have come in contact with Ukrainian arms smugglers offering machine guns, body armor, and some of the US/West's most advanced weapons, such as Javelin and NLAW anti-tank systems or Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade explosive drones.
The journalist said one darknet marketplace had a Phoenix Ghost loitering munition listed for $4,000.
Another Ukrainian arms smuggler offered US-made body armor sets for $1,500 and M4 carbines with suppressors and hundreds of 5.56×45mm NATO rounds for $2,400 per set.
Besides US weapons, Ukrainian arms smugglers were selling British-made NLAW anti-tank systems for $15,000. Acquiring the anti-tank weapon legally would cost between $30,000 to $40,000.
Since the journalist never completed transactions with the sellers, RT said, "it's not possible to completely rule out that the sellers actually did not have the said weapons in stock, as the RT investigators did not complete the purchase. Scamming schemes are common for dark web marketplaces."
As early as April, US officials began admitting that once Javelin anti-tank weapons cross into Ukraine, they have no idea where they go from there.
One intelligence source told CNN:
"We have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero. It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it after a short time."
The European police agency Europol has also warned about the massive amount of weapons being pumped from the West into Ukraine. Once the weapons hit the ground, there's no tracking the weapons from there, and some end up in criminal gangs' hands.
"The weapons from this war are still being used by criminal groups today," Europol Director Catherine De Bolle told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag in June.
Last Thursday, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) issued a statement urging US military leaders to send weapons inspectors into the war-torn country to monitor where the billions of dollars in arms are being handed out.
RT's investigation sheds important light on the Pentagon's worst fears of high-tech weapons ending up in the wrong hands and some of the weapons for sale on the darknet. There may never be oversight and accountability of the weapons on the ground because, as the NYTimes recently said, the CIA has had a presence on the battlefield since the start of the invasion. When it comes to the CIA's covert arms programs, they usually like to keep where the weapons are being sent a secret.