RT reporters were able to quickly agree on the purchase of a US-made Phoenix Ghost suicide drone
Lavish deliveries of “lethal aid” from the US, UK and other NATO nations to Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia has led to the emergence of markets where some of these weapons can be purchased on the dark web, RT Russian has learned.
Ukrainian traders claim to offer not only small arms or bulletproof vests there, but also sophisticated equipment such as Javelin and NLAW anti-tank systems or Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade explosive drones.
That said, it is not possible to completely rule out that the sellers did not indeed have said weapons in stock, as RT investigators did not finalize the purchase. Scams are common on dark web marketplaces.
RT was able to contact one of the said sellers via a darknet marketplace and agree to purchase, for a price of $4,000, a Phoenix Ghost vagrant ammunition, which had been developed by the United States. especially for the needs of the Ukrainian army.
The reporters, who posed as interested buyers, said they were also interested in a batch of US M18A1 Claymore antipersonnel mines, but were told these were out of stock.
As for the drone, the trader assured that it will be placed in a reserve, with its coordinates and the photo of the spot to be shared after the payment via the market place, acting as guarantor of the transaction. The plot will be dug into the ground in the woods, he said.
When asked if the Phoenix Ghost could be delivered to an area outside of Ukraine, specifically the Polish border town of Przemysl, he said it wouldn’t be a problem, but it would cost $1,000. what’s more.
This potentially suggests that Ukrainian arms smugglers may have already established contact with border guards and are able to enter and exit Poland without complications.
RT also exchanged messages with another trader, dubbed ‘weapons ukraine’, who was looking to sell lots of American-made bulletproof vests priced at $1,500 for five units, and M4 rifles with a silencer and a hundred balls for $2, 4000 thousand per set.
This person also offered a wide selection of old Russian and Soviet-made weapons, including AK-47 rifles, handguns, grenades, and sniper rifles.
Market prices turned out to be incredibly low. For example, the British-made NLAW system is sold there for just $15,000, while the legal acquisition of the anti-tank weapon could cost between $30,000 and $40,000, according to media reports.
Last month, Interpol chief Jürgen Stock warned that the conflict in Ukraine would lead to many weapons appearing on the black market.
“Criminal groups try to exploit these chaotic situations and the availability of weapons, even those used by the military and including heavy weapons. These will be available in the criminal market and will create a challenge,” Stock acknowledged, adding that these weapons could be “is trafficked not only to neighboring countries, but to other continents”.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in May that he had discussed the importance of tracking and protecting US-supplied weapons with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, who assured him that they would make sure that the responsibility was there.
Moscow has warned against Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, arguing that this only prolongs the fighting, while increasing the risk of a direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO.