Posted on 22 Mar 2023
Wars create the conditions for the accumulation of weapons, often outside direct state control; the ends of wars tend to lead to an illegal outflow of those weapons into the hands of criminal and insurgent groups both within the combatant nations and beyond.
Despite some over-heated claims, there is currently no substantial outflow of weapons from the Ukrainian conflict zone. However, every precedent suggests that, especially if the threat is not addressed proactively and imaginatively, when the current war ends, Ukraine’s battlefields could and will become the new arsenal of anarchy, arming everyone from insurgents in Africa to gangsters in the streets of Europe.
This report explores the current situation in Ukraine in terms of the spread of weapons into non-state hands and clandestine supply chains. It considers the prospects for more serious levels of proliferation after the end of hostilities, and makes practical recommendations for Ukraine and its foreign partners.