Veronika Vorontsova
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia) | May 30, 2014 Friday


There are not less than 3,000 units of automatic small arms stolen from arsenals in the eastern regions of the country "in uncontrolled circulation" in Ukraine now. Acting Interior Minister of Ukraine Arsen Avakov reported this recently. He states that a series of special operations for confiscation of illegal weapons is conducted in the country now. One of such special operations took place in Zaporozhye Region where policemen detained an automobile that was transporting more than ten automatic rifles and pistols and a few thousands of cartridges.

Experts of Swiss arms project Small Arms Survey presume that what has been confiscated by Ukrainian security agencies is a drop in a bucket. According to the experts, up to 60,000 units of small arms were stolen or illegally bought from ammunition depots in the country in the last few months. Thus, up to 8,000 units of small arms went to civilians only during looting of the brigade of interior forces in Lvov Region. During looting of a military unit in Mariupol in May of 2013 civilians could get hold of about 10,000 units of small arms.

Rafail Rudnitsky, head of the Moscow division of Civil Weapons union, says that in the next few months weapons from Ukraine may come to the Russian black market. He estimates the overall quantity of illegal small arms of Russians at 10 million units and names North Caucasian republics (first of all, Chechnya and Dagestan), as well as Central Asian states (mostly Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) as the main suppliers.

Officials of the Russian Interior Ministry warn that growth of quantity of small arms may provoke a surge of violent crimes. According to the ministry, more than 95% of all murders as a result of firearm wounds were committed from illegal weapons. Russia remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world where criminals kill 40,000-42,000 people per year. About one-third of murders are committed with firearms.

Source: Novye Izvestia, May 27, 2014, pp. 1, 5



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