The dawn of a new arms race


The tension and escalation of the Ukraine-Russia conflict are not abating as a result of the continuous supply of different types of heavy weapons by the United States and countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to Ukraine. This cannot make a peaceful resolution of the conflict possible as it has set forth a new race between hostile European nations to accumulate or develop weapons.           

Some NATO countries and allies, such as Germany and Sweden, have reversed past policies against providing offensive military aid in order to support Ukraine, while the European Union for the first time in its history supplied lethal weapons through its institutions. Arms supply to Ukraine has pushed the world powers to renew their focus on the arms race which could lead to military confrontation and destabilisation, not only of Europe but the entire world.           

The threat of the use of the use of tactical nuclear weapons on territory of Ukraine is now real as the west has reportedly supplied artillery ammunition with enriched uranium to Kiev, and the subsequent shelling of the Zaporozhye nuclear plant by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Frankly speaking, uncontrolled weapons and military equipment supplies to the Kiev regime can only fuel the conflict and never lead to peace. 

According to international agencies, the military-industrial companies of the US and NATO nations have had their income doubled from sales of their military products, depleting their own military arsenals in the process.           

With depletion of their arsenals, European countries are now being forced, according to reports, to sign multi-billion dollar long-term contracts with leading American European military firms to replenish their stocks of weapons without the right for them to choose other reliable suppliers. Global agencies and organizations have repeatedly confirmed the high level of corruption at all stages of the implementation of humanitarian and military assistance to the Kiev government.

According to the Inspector General of the US Department of Defence (DOD), Pentagon employees in Poland did not comply with the accounting procedures for military equipment delivered to Ukraine. Five shipments of military aid were reported to have been checked but representatives of the department could not track the weapons in three of them. As noted, the weapons could have been sold, intercepted, stolen or sent to terrorists in various regions of the world, including African states.  

Adedeji Ebo, Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs at the UN recently observed that the ‘’large–scale influx of arms and ammunition into any situation of armed conflict raises concerns‘‘, and stressed that ‘’measures to address the risk of diversion are essential to prevent further instability and insecurity in Ukraine. Such measures include pre-transfer risk assessments , end-user certification and post-shipment verification.’’              

Like many African countries, Uganda, Ethiopia, Congo, South Africa and some others have remained neutral on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. They are toeing an independent path in not joining sanctions against Russia despite unprecedented western pressure, are resisting undisguised attempts of the US and their European satellites to impose a unipolar world order.        

African leaders justify their non-position on Ukraine by pointing to the devastation the cold war wrought on the continent and are not ready to become participants in a conflict that could undermine their own authority, and the sovereignty of their countries which had been won through the support of the old Soviet Union under Russia. And these leaders want peaceful dialogue in stopping the war, and are reportedly not ready to lose a reliable ally that has over the years provided aid to Africans without any strings attached. That is why they are advocating for a stop to the current flow of weapons to Ukraine, it would only lead to escalation of the conflict, more civilian casualties, and if such weapons are diverted to terrorists, could create, according to an Austrian Federal Intelligence Service, ‘’a belt of instability reaching across Africa, from the Sahara Desert and the Sahel region all the way to Somalia and the Arabian sea.

Idris writes from Kaduna