UN Warns of Escalation in Arms Transfers in Ukraine Conflict

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Adedeji Ebo, Director of UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Calls for International Cooperation

New York, October 27, 2023 – Amid the ongoing violence in Ukraine, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs has sounded the alarm regarding the increasing flow of weapons into the conflict.

In a briefing to the United Nations Security Council on October 27, Adedeji Ebo, the Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, expressed deep concerns about the “supply of weapons and ammunition into armed conflict situations, raising significant worries about the potential escalation of violence.”

Mr. Ebo emphasized the urgent need “for an immediate end to the use of these indiscriminate and devastating weapons, which have long-lasting impacts on innocent civilians even after conflicts have ended.”

The weapons being funneled into the conflict include “heavy conventional weaponry, including battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, combat aircraft, helicopters, large-caliber artillery systems, missile systems, uncrewed combat aerial vehicles, remotely operated munitions, small arms, light weapons, and their corresponding ammunition.”

He also drew attention to reports related to the transfer of depleted-uranium tank ammunition to Ukrainian forces.

Furthermore, there have been reports of plans to transfer uncrewed aerial vehicles and ammunition to the Russian armed forces for potential use in Ukraine, intensifying worries about the escalation of violence.

Citing figures from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Ebo noted that approximately 9,806 civilians have been killed in the conflict, with 17,962 injured between February 24, 2022, and October 8, 2023. He emphasized that this figure is likely to be higher.

Reiterating that the Ukraine conflict, initiated by the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022, violates international law and the UN Charter, Mr. Ebo called for all arms transfers to strictly adhere to the applicable international legal framework, including relevant Security Council resolutions, to prevent further destabilization in the region.

He also urged States to consider acceding to international conventions that prohibit such weapons.

Mr. Ebo’s briefing highlighted the critical need for measures to counter the potential diversion of weapons and ammunition, which could undermine post-conflict recovery and regional stability. He underscored the importance of international cooperation in preventing the illicit flow of arms and diversion.

The briefing served as a stark reminder of the urgent necessity for international cooperation to address this growing challenge in Ukraine.

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