Swedish law enforcement suggests that some of the weapons delivered to Kyiv may end up in gang arsenals
Swedish police have expressed concern that weapons delivered to Ukraine by its Western allies could go to the Scandinavian country and end up in the arsenals of criminal gangs when the conflict is over.
Detective Commissioner Gunnar Appelgren warned in a speech to Swedish Radio on Monday: “there is probably a great risk that flows of illegal weapons will enter Sweden“when peace is restored in Ukraine.
The official explained that although weapons may now be in high demand in the country’s conflict zones, Ukrainians will have a surplus of weapons when the hostilities are over. Criminal groups could try to monetize the situation, according to Appelgren.
The police commissioner stated that most of the weapons currently used by criminal gangs in Sweden come from the Balkan wars in the 1990s. “Many automatic weapons came in, AK47,said Appelgren and added that hand grenades also went to Sweden a couple of years ago.
Sweden, among other European nations as well as the United States, Britain and Australia, has supplied weapons and ammunition to Ukraine to help the country repel Russia’s military offensive, which President Vladimir Putin launched in late February.
In recent years, the Scandinavian nation has seen an increase in violent crime, with street gangs making up for it with the help of firearms – something Appelgren seemed to refer to and say: “we have conflicts in Sweden.“
Ylva Johansson, a Swedish politician who serves as EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, repeated the police chief’s concerns at the end of May. Dagens Nyheter quoted her as saying:with Putin’s war in Ukraine, we see a very high risk of increased criminal arms trade.“
During his visit to the Moldovan-Romanian border, Johansson also noted that “long after the war in the former Yugoslavia, we see the consequences in Sweden where weapons from the war are used in criminal shootings.“
The EU official then promised that the European Commission would present a proposal aimed at preventing, detecting and investigating illegal trade in firearms by the end of the summer.
Experts quoted in Dagens Nyheter’s article together with Johansson warned that criminals in Sweden could potentially even get hold of anti-tank bullets smuggled from Ukraine.
In late May, Europol chief Catherine De Bolle told German media that one of her organisation’s biggest concerns was “where the weapons currently being delivered to Ukraine are located.“She also compared the current situation with”that 30 years ago in the Balkan War.“