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 Western arms in Ukraine infographic
Graphic shows Accuracy International AXMC multi-calibre sniper rifle.


Ukraine bazaar for Western arms

By Duncan Mil

May 23, 2022 - Open-source intelligence (OSINT) of the Russian conflict in Ukraine shows fighters on all sides armed with state-of-the-art Western weapons – British-made sniper rifles, German riflescopes and laser rangefinders, and U.S.-made ballistic meters.

OSINT shows how arms have flowed to Ukraine from the West on a massive scale. In 2020, the OSINT network Bellingcat established that a Russian special forces unit operating in the Luhansk region of occupied east Ukraine was using a British Accuracy International (AI) sniper rifle.

AI has exported its sniper rifles to military and law enforcement agencies in more than 60 countries, so some weapons will likely finish up in Russia, despite an arms embargo since Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Bellingcat’s report stresses there is no suggestion of any illegality on AI’s part.

A short search of OSINT site War Noir reveals multiple images and videos of Ukrainian fighters with Belgian FN F2000 assault rifles, U.S.-supplied .50 Cal Barrett M107A1 rifles, U.S. M4A1 carbines and British AI sniper rifles.

Videos also show U.S.-supplied Stinger MANPADS, which have played a pivotal role in preventing Russian air domination over Ukraine.

One recent image shows a Belarusian fighter carrying a British AI sniper rifle with a U.S Nightforce (NF) scope. A new video of Chechen troops fighting for Moscow under Ramzan Kadyrov features a sniper using an NF scope. NF riflescopes cost between €1,200 and €3,800.

Another OSINT video shows Ukraine’s 80th Assault Airborne Brigade members showing off a German-made Leica Rangemaster paid for by New Zealand “Donate2Ukraine” supporters.

PUBLISHED: 23/05/2022; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Ukraine army, Sky News, War Noir, Rob Lee, King's College London