According to the latest announcement from Joe Biden administration, the United States will give Ukraine extra security assistance worth $1 billion, which will be the largest one-time arms delivery since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
This package provides a significant amount of additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), 75,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition, 20 units of 120 mm mortar systems, and 20,000 rounds of 120 mm mortar ammunition, as well as ammunition for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), the US Department of Defense said in a statement.
Additionally, according to the statement, Washington will send Kiev 1,000 Javelins, hundreds of AT4 anti-armor systems, 50 armored medical treatment vehicles, anti-personnel munitions, explosives, demolition munitions, and demolition equipment.
The Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which has been keeping track of international aid promises to Ukraine, reports that from January 24 to July 1, 2022, the United States, Ukraine’s staunchest sponsor against Russia, had pledged Euro 41.8 billion (Military aid: Euro 23.8 billion, Humanitarian aid : Euro 8.9 billion and Financial aid : Euro 9.9 billion). The majority of the military aid—Euro 17.4 billion—was pledged for financial assistance with a military purpose (like future purchase, spying and bribing etc.), with Euro 6.3 billion going toward weapons and equipment. According to the report, the United States has spent Euro 2.44 billion on weapons and equipment within that date range.
Numerous types of weapons have entered Ukraine, ranging from rifles and grenades to anti-tank missiles and multiple launch rocket systems. But what happens to the supplied arms, no one actually clearly knows.
Recently a western media reported that only around 30% of the weapons that the US and its allies provided to Ukraine have actually reached the front lines. As per Jonas Ohman, the founder of a Lithuanian relief organization, traversing a complex network of “power lords, oligarchs and political players in Ukraine” is necessary to get weaponry to the troops fighting Russian forces.
Delivery of the military supplies has proven challenging for those attempting to negotiate the perilous supply lines to their destination due to Ukraine’s continuously shifting front lines and its mostly volunteer and paramilitary forces. Some people are worried that guns would end up on the corrupt black market in Ukraine, which has prospered since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. People who research illicit flows are concerned because Ukraine in particular has a history of serving as a hub of the arms trade during the 1990s.
Scope remains, Russia procuring these weapons systems from black market to acquire critical technologies for upgrading Russian systems.
Based on the weapons obtained in Ukraine, a British think tank, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) claimed that almost two-thirds of the components of Russian weapons were produced by American firms. And nearly a quarter of all the Western components in Russian weapons were produced by American companies Texas Instruments and Analog Devices.
According to RUSI’s claim, one of Russia’s most advanced weapons, the 9M727 cruise missile, which can maneuver at low altitude to dodge radar and kill targets hundreds of kilometers away, had 31 foreign parts. There parts were produced by a number of firms, including German firm Infineon AG(IFXGn.DE), Texas Instruments Inc., and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which are based in the United States.
Ukraine insists that it tracks every weapon that enters its borders. Yuri Sak, an advisor to Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov, told the Financial Times last month that reports to the contrary “could be part of Russia’s information war to discourage international partners from providing Ukraine with weapons.”
However, some Western officials and few news media have raised red flags. In April, a US intelligence source told CNN that Washington had “virtually zero” understanding what happens to these arms shipments after they enter Ukraine, characterizing them as disappearing “into a gigantic black hole.”
While the Russian government has issued a warning that these weapons are appearing in the Middle East, Europol asserts that some of them have found their way into the hands of organized crime organizations in the EU. An investigation by RT in June revealed online stores where high-end Western equipment, such Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade explosive drones or Javelin and NLAW anti-tank weapons are being sold.
Despite receiving weapons worth billions of US dollars, Ukraine has not been able to make significant strides against steady Russian advance, rather weapons falling in extra-state actors may jeopardize stability in other contested regions, especially in the Middle East.
An Iraqi security expert, Akila al-Taya, recently told the Russian news outlet Sputnik that it is likely that US weapons that Ukraine is currently receiving can easily be smuggled to extremists inside or outside of Ukraine as well as to terrorist organizations like the Islamic State. As Russia advances in Ukraine despite inflow of Western weaponry, the Western strategy seems to be prolonging the conflict to the last Ukrainian and sow seeds of volatility in regions contested by the US-led west and Russia.