Russian military accused of sending captured US weapons from Ukraine to Iran
According to new reports, the Russian military has been taking US and NATO-provided weapons left on the battlefield in Ukraine and sending them to Iran, where they could be reverse-engineered.
Multiple sources claim that Russian forces have been seizing small shoulder-fired weapons that Ukrainian forces have been forced to leave behind.
Weapons like javelins and stingers have been cited as being among those captured.
The US State Department has been warning of this happening for months now, but defense officials are not seeing any significant evidence of diversion.
However, they say they wouldn’t be surprised if it happened due to the intensity of the war in Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is using more and more weapons sent by the US.
There are growing concerns that some capabilities are getting into the wrong hands.
The Pentagon is aware of the reports but has been unable to comment further.
Instead, it has pointed to a defense official’s recent testimony on Capitol Hill, saying, “What we’re not seeing is any evidence of significant diversion.
I think our assessment is if some of these systems have been diverted, it’s by Russians who have captured things on the battlefield, which always happens, but that there’s no evidence that the Ukrainians are diverting it to the black market.”
Calls are growing on Capitol Hill for more oversight over the billions of dollars in weapons and equipment flowing into Ukraine.
There are no US boots on the ground in Ukraine, making keeping track of weapons more of a challenge.
Defense officials say they gave Ukrainians handheld scanners to keep track of the weapons, and that data then gets transmitted back directly to the US so they can try to prevent any potential diversion.
The State Department also warns that Russia could be pushing out false reports of alleged illicit arms diversion as an attempt to weaken Western support for Ukraine.
Some Republicans in Washington are pushing to put a stop to Ukraine 8.