Posted on: 18 December 2013
A network of Ukraine-based individuals and logistics companies—referred to herein as the “Odessa Network” due to its key leadership being located in Odessa, Ukraine—is responsible for transporting weapons out of Russia and Ukraine on behalf of government sellers. Evidence suggests that some of these companies may transport weapons to the Assad regime in Syria, among other notorious violators of human rights. The Odessa Network is a loose collection of logistics contractors for the governments of Russia and Ukraine, not independent
arms dealers. Key companies and figures in Odessa include Kaalbye Group, Phoenix Trans-Servis, and their high-level political connections via key facilitators such as Boris Kogan. The companies work with state weapons export agencies such as Rosoboronexport and Ukrspetsexport. Odessa Network company leaders have personal and financial relationships with cabinet level officials in the Russian and Ukrainian governments, including a personal advisor to Putin and senior Russian militaryindustrial figures. The Odessa Network centers on a group of Odessa-based private companies that regularly move large arms shipments. Affiliated EU and Russian shipping firms such as Briese Schiffahrts (and its subsidiary BBC Chartering) and Balchart play an important specialized role in transporting particularly large or sensitive shipments. The network is deeply interconnected. Personnel and equipment frequently cycle between different companies, and many network members are family members, close friends, former classmates, etc.