It was claimed that some of the weapons sent to Ukraine by allies, especially the United States, were for sale on the internet. Experts, evaluating the possibility of some sophisticated weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, warn of a mini-September 11.
Although the Ukraine-Russia war seems to have calmed down recently, interesting developments continue to take place in the background almost every day. One of them was some advertisements that recently appeared on the internet.
It was claimed that some weapons seized from Ukraine were for sale on the Dark Web, where illegal content is shared. According to the advertisements on the site, you can own Javelin ATGM anti-tank missiles for 30 thousand dollars and NLAW anti-tank missiles for 15 thousand dollars. Kamikaze drones are also on sale for 7 thousand dollars.
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The fact that such sophisticated weapons can be sold on a website has two basic dynamics. The first is that such sales are possible over the internet. In other words, the informatics dimension of the process. The second dimension is the intelligence/security aspect. We discussed both aspects with experts in their fields and sought answers to the question of what kind of consequences the weapons that allegedly disappeared in Ukraine and went up for sale online could have.
Sophisticated weapon systems on the black market
Ersin Çahmutoğlu is a cyber security expert who works on intelligence and state-sponsored cyber activities. He is cautious about sales advertisements on the Dark Web. He shares the information that an Israeli company revealed this incident as a result of its own analysis and investigations.
Çahmutoğlu underlines that Dark Web platforms are a closed box on this issue and says, “If the allegations are true, these weapons were seized in Ukrainian territory during the Russian occupation and ended up on the black market to be used illegally through covert activities. There are also allegations that terrorist organizations are particularly interested in this business.”
How does delivery work in such sales?
We would like Çahmutoğlu to share some details about the process… For example, we are curious about the methods of payment and how the products are received.
He continues by stating that the Dark Web is an ideal place for organized groups to sell goods and products that cannot be traded or sold in legal markets due to their nature:
“The seller-buyer relationship here is kept very secret. Since it is already difficult to enter such platforms, there is almost no one who can infiltrate such places, except for intelligence organizations and strong law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL. Sellers and buyers can only be identified through long technical surveillance, but there are no guarantees.
There are specialized tools and sites that are accessed through specific references. No one knows each other most of the time. In this respect, identities are kept secret and purchases are mostly made by hand. In rare cases, legal packages and illegal materials can be delivered by cargo.
In the case of the weapons in Ukraine, ‘hand-to-hand transaction’ is what most of them resorted to. The seller stipulates that all purchases and sales must take place within Ukraine and in person. Weapons are usually paid for with cryptocurrencies. Sometimes they can also be bought by hand during the sale.
The quality of the weapons is very important. Such sales have been taking place on the Dark Web for years, and unfortunately, most of them go undetected. This is an international security problem for the world.”
Uncontrolled aid signals a new danger
Bursa Technical University Department of International Relations Faculty Member Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Burak Darıcılı evaluates the security/intelligence dimension of the process… He summarizes the uncontrolled and large amounts of arms aid to the Ukrainian side with the phrase “a new danger”.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Darıcılı reminds that a large number of international fighters are involved in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia and says, “Some are after adventure, some after money. Others are involved in the conflict for purely ideological reasons. Is there any guarantee that these individuals will not seize these weapons and sell them on the black market to unwanted groups and organizations, such as terrorist organizations?”
Beware of missiles fired from the shoulder at aircraft
At this point, Darıcılı mentions that missile systems used against shoulder-mounted aircraft are of even greater importance and danger, and goes on to say, “Think about the possibility of downing civilian passenger planes with this type of weapon somehow captured from Ukraine.”
“Add to this the possibility that such an attack could be used against more than one airplane at the same time. In other words, such an action could cause a mini 9/11 attack on the whole world.
In this context, it should also be remembered that the Stinger missile systems that the US gave to the Mujahideen during the Soviet occupation were re-purchased on the black market after the end of the conflict. Because the US intelligence agencies considered such a possibility quite probable even at the time, they collected these weapons by paying for them.
As a result, the possibility of uncontrolled arms transfers to the Ukrainian side in the context of the Ukraine-Russia war being used against Western countries, especially the US, should always be kept in mind.”