The Republic of Moldova has become an intermediary country in arms deals between the EU and Russia – News by sources
Three EU companies are suspected of attempting to smuggle weapons into Belarus and Russia, which could be the tip of a larger black market.
Moldova, intermediary in the EU arms deal to Belarus and Russia
The Czech company Česká Zbrojovka tried to export over 100 rifles and pistols through Moldova to Russia in 2020, according to a Moldovan document in the possession of EUobserver, reports Anticorupție.md.
The transport included CZ TSR sniper rifles, which can be useful for both sports and special forces. The Hungarian company “De Fango” and the Slovak company “XXeurope” also tried to export hundreds of thousands of ammunition through Moldova to Belarus at about the same time, according to the document in the possession of reporters from the Belgian publication.
The EU imposed arms embargoes on Belarus and Russia in 2011 and 2014.
A Moldovan officer provided information – a 12-page PowerPoint presentation created by Moldovan law enforcement authorities – to an EU diplomat in Chisinau in July to sound the alarm.
The Moldovan company “Cartuș”, a Russian company called “Alliance”, and one from Belarus, “Outdoor Team”, appear in this business as an intermediary in the alleged scheme to avoid EU sanctions.
“What are the documents needed in EU countries to export [articole militare] in third countries? “, Asked the document offered by the Moldovan officer to the diplomatic representative to the EU.
“The evasion of embargoes [UE] by using states [Moldova] who have not ratified the embargo is incriminated or involved only pecuniary liability? ”, Is also mentioned in the document.
Moldova’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration confirmed one of the cases for EUobserver, saying: [moldovenesc] stopped an attempt to export civilian ammunition to Belarus. “
“They were confiscated and are currently being held on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. Justice […] opened an investigation into the case, followed by several searches last week, “the Chisinau Foreign Ministry said.
“The ammunition was imported from Hungary, but was produced in Finland and Switzerland,” the ministry added, expanding the list of potential EU culprits.
Moldova was “open to cooperation with any EU institution or agency of EU Member States investigating this case,” the ministry told EUobserver.
“The government [prim-ministrului Natalia] Gavrilița … made this a priority in the fight against corruption and in the cleaning of state institutions “, he added.
Slovakia corroborated the suspicious business of Europe.
“We can confirm that XXeurope applied for an export license for ammunition with an end-user declared in Moldova (for the civilian market) in April 2020. After a thorough examination of the application, the Slovak MFA [ministerul afacerilor externe] decided not to grant an export permit, “he said.
“Slovakia applies strict controls on arms exports,” she added.
“The Czech Republic is also fully implementing all EU or UN arms embargoes,” its foreign ministry told EUobserver.
The Hungarian Foreign Ministry said it was “complying with … the rules on the arms embargo and other restrictive measures adopted by the United Nations or the European Union”.
“De Fango”, the Hungarian arms company, told EUobserver that “it does not offer goods to Russia and Belarus”.
“All deliveries made by our company are made exclusively with the permission of the competent state authorities in Hungary, in compliance with all Hungarian and EU laws,” she added.
The Czech company “Česká zbrojovka” and the Moldovan company “Cartridge” did not answer questions.
Asked by Portal Anticoruptie.md, the director of “Cartuș”, Vasile Gondiu, said that the company never exported anything, a detail that can be verified at customs.
“In 2019, we delivered some sports pistols to a sports club in St. Petersburg. This sports club participates in international competitions. The guns were produced by a Czech company, “CZ”. The gentlemen asked me, if I could, to deliver more sports pistols if the state authorities would allow me. Authorities allowed me delivery. It was a small delivery of a few “CZ shadow” sports pistols. This is our only export and, look, what a mess “, said Vasile Gondiu, the director of” Cartuș “.
“XXeurope”, the Slovak company, located in Žilina, northwestern Slovakia, is not a phone number or an e-mail address. The Belarusian company Outdoor Team, which is located in an industrial area outside Minsk, did not respond. A man who responded to EUobserver calls to the Russian company “Alliance” in St. Petersburg, Russia, refused to identify himself.
But he said: “We have no interest in talking about this issue. It’s too much emotion [sic]. We don’t need to talk to you. Goodbye. “