Weapons seized as part of an anti-terrorism operation in Northern Ireland may have come from the battlegrounds of Ukraine, local police have said.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said they seized a handgun, two hand grenades, 50 rounds of ammunition and a kilogramme of plastic explosives during raids in Derry over the weekend of September 9-10.
Officers reportedly suspect that at least some of the weapons were stolen from the Ukrainian frontlines by mercenaries, and described them as “military grade”.
Particular emphasis has been placed on the grenades seized by law enforcement, which are “of a newer type used by the Russian military”, it said.
The PSNI has linked the weapons to the “New IRA” terror group, and said it suspects that the weapons could have been used “to mount attacks in an attempt to kill police officers”.
“The significance of this recovery cannot be underestimated,” PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan said, adding that terror groups in the region have shown a “total disregard for the wider community”.
Brussels Signal has approached the PSNI for additional comment.
Poland has threatened to extradite all Ukrainian men of military age who have illegally left Ukraine to escape mobilisation. https://t.co/CTgnqkgH7l
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 6, 2023
Claims that weapons from Ukraine have potentially ended up in the hands of Irish terror groups follow repeated warnings that munitions donated to the Kyiv administration by the West could not always be accounted for.
According to documents seen by enthusiast site Military.com, US officials have struggled to keep track of the weapons and equipment it has sent East. It is feared that at least some of the military aid ended up in the hands of Russian forces and criminal organisations.
US Government documents seen by the Heritage Foundation think-tank appear to echo such concerns, with Department of Defence officials said to have confirmed at least one case of a Ukrainian group selling-off American equipment rather than distributing it to the country’s troops.
#AzucenaALas10 | En #Tamaulipas, un presunto miembro del Cártel del Golfo fue grabado portando una de las armas más exclusivas y poderosas, un "javelín", que ha sido utilizado durante la invasión a Ucrania con un valor de entre 20 mil y 60 mil dólares pic.twitter.com/2BGtJMc2Xl
— Azucena Uresti (@azucenau) May 31, 2023
Another report originating from Mexican media appears to indicate that a number of South American drugs cartels are now in possession of some of the missing equipment, with one member of the Mexico-based Gulf Cartel reportedly being filmed carrying a Javelin missile launcher.
The weapon has been linked to Ukraine military and US presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy lambasted the situation online.
“It turns out that the US military weapons that we sent to *Ukraine*, including Javelin anti-tank missiles and missile launchers, are ending up in the hands of Mexican drugs cartels south of our border,” he said.
“This is an embarrassment.”
Ukraine claims Russian drones detonated on the territory of NATO member Romania during an overnight air strike on a Ukrainian port, but Bucharest denies its territory has been hit. https://t.co/zopPLhedrg
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 4, 2023