Read the original text at 112.ua.
The scandal around alleged delivering of Ukrainian engines to North Korea has barely calmed down, while Ukraine found itself in the center of a new mess. This time the state is suspected in the illegal supply of arms to South Sudan. In particular, the International Human Rights Organization Amnesty International stated that “Ukrynmash,” Ukrainian state special exporter of military products, signed a contract with a company located in the UAE to supply a large batch of weapons to the Ministry of Defense of South Sudan, which was subsequently used against civilians.
In 2014, Ukrainian state arms exporter “Ukrynmash” concluded a major commercial contract worth $ 169 million to supply thousands of machine guns, mortars, rocket launchers, grenades, and millions of cartridges. The documents examined by Amnesty International show that the company located in the UAE, signed a contract for the acquisition of these weapons for the Ministry of Defense of South Sudan. "Ukrynmash" has already delivered this weapon," the report says.
Amnesty International has reminded that the participation of the Ukrainian state-owned company in the supply of arms to South Sudan contradicts the Arms Trade Treaty, previously signed by Ukraine.
According to human rights activists, while UN Security Council has not introduced a full and comprehensive embargo on arms trade with Southern Sudan, Kyiv must adhere to its declared policy of ensuring regional and international security and stability. That is, Ukraine must completely stop the supply of weapons and the provision of any logistical support to Southern Sudan, including equipment, its maintenance and training.
The International Arms Trade Treaty entered into force in 2014. It was supported by representatives of 130 countries, but not all of the signers (including Ukraine) have ratified it. Three countries voted against the adoption of the document: Iran, Syria and North Korea. 23 countries, including Russia and China, abstained. Supporters of the adoption of the treaty are convinced that it will help prevent weapons from falling into the hands of criminals and human rights violators. By the way, the annual turnover of the global arms market is about 85 billion dollars.
Reaction of Ukraine
Reaction to a new charge in the illegal supply of arms came from Ukraine on the same day. In particular, “Ukrynmash” stated that the company had never supplied weapons to Southern Sudan. Moreover, the official statement of the state enterprise refutes also the provision of any logistical support to Southern Sudan, "including equipment, its maintenance and training."
“Ukrynmash” stressed that Ukraine and all its state-owned companies adhere to all international norms, including International Arms Trade Treaty.
"Despite the fact that the UN Security Council has not introduced a full and comprehensive embargo on arms trade with South Sudan, Ukraine and “Ukrynmash” fully adhere to the declared policy on ensuring regional and international security and stability," the statement adds.
As company representative explained to Pravda.com.ua, the human rights defenders did not realize the contracts because they failed to obtain an export license. According to him, the documents published by Amnesty International cannot confirm the deliveries, since such documents always precede agreements or requests.
At the same time, the representative of the company noted that earlier the human rights organization had written to “Ukrynmash” and received all the answers concerning these contracts. In addition, he added, "South Sudan is not under sanctions that prohibit the supply of weapons."
Also, the representative of the company excluded the option that “Ukrynmash” could sell weapons to another enterprise that could then resell it to Sudan: "According to international law, this is technically impossible, because in order for any delivery transaction to take place, there must be an end-user certificate. Amnesty published the end-user certificate, and it says "Sudan." But this contract was not carried out."
The parliament also denied the supply. The deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of the People's Front faction, the adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Herashchenko, told RIA Novosti Ukraine that in 2012-2013, Ukraine was in fact negotiating arms deliveries to Southern Sudan, but they were not implemented, and Kyiv has notified Amnesty International.
“In my opinion, Amnesty International acted very dishonestly, they had an official response from the Ukrainian state company, where all the facts were quoted," Herashchenko said.
Ukraine’s people's deputy, a member of the parliamentary committee on national security and defense Iryna Friz has also responded to the situation. In particular, on her Facebook page, she called Amnesty International's report "absurd and discrediting this organization."
Explanation of human rights defenders
As well as in a loud story with alleged supplies of Ukrainian engines to North Korea, later the so-called prosecution party clarified its statement. Spokeswoman for Amnesty International in Ukraine, Maria Hurieva, admitted that the organization does not know whether Ukraine actually supplied arms to Southern Sudan. According to her, "signing contracts is a step".
At the same time, she stressed that the main subject of Amnesty International's investigation is the activities of the British company, which allegedly acted as intermediary between Ukrainian enterprise “Ukrynmash” and the UAE. And the main complaint to Ukraine is that domestic weapons could have heated the civil war in southern Sudan, leading to new victims and human rights violations.
South Sudan separated from Sudan in 2011, and since 2013, a bloody armed conflict continues in the country. In 2015, the regime of sanctions of the UN Security Council was imposed on South Sudan, but last year the resolution on the arms embargo on South Sudan was failed in the Security Council.
It should be noted that if you raise the data of the State Service for Export Control of Ukraine for 2014-2016, you can find other interesting details. According to agency reports, during this time, Ukraine sold to South Sudan a thousand light machine guns, 150 heavy machine guns, and five combat helicopters.
Among other countries to which Ukraine provided arms in 2014-2016 are: Congo, Thailand, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Turkey, USA, Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Peru, Zambia, Belarus, Croatia, Chad, Algeria, China, Georgia, Canada, Czech Republic, Uganda, and Germany.
Top Weapon Stories
It is not the first time, when Amnesty International suspects Ukraine of supplying arms to southern Sudan. In 2012, during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, the organization has already accused Kyiv of delivering Juba battle tanks T-72. Then human rights activists said that the tanks were used by the Sudan People's Liberation Army, in particular to fire civilians. They allegedly managed to document the presence of five main battle tanks, including three T-72M1, supplied by Ukraine in 2009 in transit through Kenya and Uganda.
Even without the accusations of Amnesty International, Ukraine often appears in international arms scandals. For example, the above mentioned story of the alleged supply of Ukrainian engines to North Korea, which took place in August this year. Then The New York Times, referring to a new report by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) and data from the US intelligence services, wrote that North Korea's success in testing intercontinental missiles capable of reaching the US territory was made possible through the receipt through the black market of powerful rocket engines, manufactured at Ukrainian plant, historically linked to the Russian missile program. Ukrainian authorities has refuted this information. And the author of the report later specified that he did not say that the DPRK received the RD-250 engines directly from the Ukrainian government or the Ukrainian manufacturer.
In July last year, a scandal with weapons from the area of the antiterrorist operation in the Donbas has erupted. Reuters published an investigation in which it reported that weapons from Ukraine were illegally delivered to terrorist groups in various parts of the world - to the Middle East, to Europe, to Russia. According to the publication, the export of illegal weapons outside the zone of military operations intensified after February 2015.
In November 2015, information that Ukraine allegedly sold arms to the "Islamic state" has appeared. In particular, Kuwait suspected Kyiv of selling Chinese FN-6 MANPADS to ISIS. This happened after suppressing the activities of the local criminal cell that was engaged in supplying arms to terrorists. The cell leader, Lebanese native Osama Hayat, admitted that he bought weapons in Ukraine and sent them to Syria through the territory of Turkey. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine also refuted this information.
In 2013, the Washington Post newspaper stated that the port of Oktyabrsk (Mykolayiv region) is one of the key points for the supply of weapons (including Russian) to the Syrian regime. The publication cited reports of experts according to which small ships under Syrian and Lebanese flags, as well as huge dry cargo vessels belonging to Russian and Ukrainian businessmen are used for the transfer of weapons to the ports of Syria.
But the loudest case is the so-called Kolchuga scandal, which took place in the early 2000's. A year before the US military campaign against Iraq, Ukraine was accused of supplying Baghdad with the Kolchuga radar complexes produced by the Donetsk-based Topaz enterprise that could detect aircraft with stealth technologies, bypassing UN sanctions. Although real evidence of supplies of Kolchuga radar complexes to Iraq was not provided, the scandal significantly affected the image of the country and image of then-President Leonid Kuchma personally.