Israel fears consequences of West arming Ukraine – Newsweek
The Israeli military has “seen signs” that Western weapons have been smuggled from Ukraine to Iran, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commander told Newsweek on Thursday. Russia has repeatedly warned that arms sent to Ukraine will inevitably end up being sold to the highest bidder.
The anonymous Israeli commander said that Javelin anti-tank missile launchers are among the weapons that have been diverted to Iran, primarily via the Black Sea and Mediterranean and onward across land. The commander claimed that “paramilitary forces” on both sides of the conflict – a term that could include Ukrainian neo-Nazi and foreign volunteer units on one side and Donbass militia units and the Wagner private military company on the other – were taking part in the scheme.
Iran is interested in these weapons for two reasons, the commander argued, explaining that “one is that they can research capabilities, and then learn how to manufacture them. The other problem is that we are very worried that some of these capabilities are going to fall into Hezbollah and Hamas' hands.”
The commander could not say how many, if any, weapons have been sent to Iran, but said that Israeli officials “see the signs, and this is very, very troubling.”
Another source, whom Newsweek noted that it could not verify, claimed that a Russian transport aircraft dropped off $100 million worth of weapons – including Javelins and UK-made NLAW missiles – to Tehran last August.
Iran’s mission to the UN said that it had “no information” regarding such shipments, and declared that the continued supply of Western arms to Ukraine would only prolong the carnage there. “We feel that with every day this war continues to last, the chance of peace will become more difficult,” the mission said. “Therefore, the solution to ending this war is not sending weapons to Ukraine. Instead, it is to encourage, facilitate and help both sides sit behind the table and find a solution to ending this war.”
Ukraine’s Western backers have admitted to the media that they can’t track most of their arms shipments once they enter Ukraine, and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated last year that up to $1 billion worth of these weapons are funnelled from Ukraine to criminals and terror groups in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia every month.
Just last month, a member of Mexico’s notorious Gulf Cartel was filmed carrying what the Milenio TV network said was a US-made FGM-148 anti-tank launcher.
Officials in Kiev describe reports of Weapons smuggling from Ukraine as “propaganda,” and the US State Department and the Pentagon both claimed to have seen no evidence of Kiev misusing American weapons.
According to American reporter Seymour Hersh, Western officials were aware that their weapons were being smuggled out of Ukraine since the first days of the conflict, and that Ukrainian “generals … colonels and others” were personally selling these arms on the black market.