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10 Dec, 2022 13:40

UN warned about dangers of West arming Ukraine

Western arms create a proliferation risk but are also used to target civilians, he said
UN warned about dangers of West arming Ukraine

The West’s military support for Kiev has accentuated the risk of weapons falling into the wrong hands, Daniel Kovalik, professor of international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, told the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Friday.

And even when these arms are successfully delivered to Ukrainian forces, they are often used to shell civilians in Donbass, he added.

Speaking at a UNSC meeting to discuss Western arms shipments to Ukraine, Kovalik claimed that the weapons are at risk of falling into the possession of unintended users, including criminals.

However, “even when the arms are going to the right people, it is not necessarily ending up in the right places,” he said, noting that Kiev had begun shelling the Donbass republics as long ago as 2014.

The professor said he had just spent a week in the city of Donetsk and witnessed Ukrainian attacks on civilian targets involving the use of Western weapons that, apparently, had been delivered “into the right hands.” 

The lawyer recalled that he had seen with his own eyes how Kiev forces had shelled a local school, a stadium, and a water facilities site. “Of course, the water is at a premium in Donetsk,” he said, adding that the city’s water filtration system had been destroyed by Ukrainian forces.

He also referred to open-source material, including reports by leading American news outlets, which outlined concerns that Western weapons shipped to Ukraine could create a spike in illicit arms trafficking.

In particular, Kovalik referred to a CNN article from April 2022, which claimed that the US had decided to take “a conscious risk” by arming Ukraine. The outlet quoted American officials who had admitted that some of the Western-supplied weapons “may wind up in the hands of other militaries” that the US had no plans to arm.

“It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time,” a CNN source said at the time.

Kovalik also cited the head of Interpol, Jurgen Stock, who warned in June that the weapons sent to Ukraine were expected to “be trafficked not only to neighboring countries but to other continents.”

According to Kovalik, the issue warrants international oversight. However, “the US isn’t going to do that,” he added, noting that Congress had voted down a resolution just days ago calling for US aid to Ukraine to be audited.

“Who is watching the watchmen?” he asked, adding that this was the responsibility of the UNSC.

His remarks come as Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, warned the West of the legal “consequences” of sending arms to Ukraine, which are subsequently used to kill civilians in Donbass.