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War in Ukraine created a new arms market – both for import and export

French citizen is being tried in Ukraine for arms smuggling

French citizen Gregoire Moutaux has been tried in Ukraine for over a year already. He is accused of an attempted smuggling of arms and explosives across the Ukranian-Polish border.

Moutaux was arrested at the border checkpoint in May 2016. 5 Kalashnikov automatic rifles, 2 hand grenade launchers, over five thousands of ammunition and 125 kilograms of trotyl were discovered in his car.

The Ukraine Security Service claims that Moutaux is a nationalist and a rightwing activist. He planned to use the arms to stage terrorist attacks on a synagogue, a mosque and tax department office during the European football cup in France in 2016.

Moutaux bought the arms from a serviceman from the Ukranian  Azov volunteer regiment in Donbass. The Azov servicemen are known for their rightwing and nationalist views – many of them come from the soccer fans groups. Nevertheless, the serviceman informed law enforcement of Moteaux`s proposal, and a special operation was carried out (in fact Moutaux bought not the real arms, but fakes).

Moutaux who may be sentenced up to 12 years in prison in Ukraine gives no comment to the media, promising to tell everything by the end of the trial.

French special services approached by their Ukrainian colleagues searched Mouteaux`s house and questioned his friends. No traces of a terrorist conspiracy were discovered. The French officers believe the European nationalists tend to use accessible arms in Ukraine rather for smuggling, than terrorism. That is why in Ukraine Moutaux is being accused of planning a terrorist attack, and of attempted arms smuggling – in France.

The experts told Hromadske TV a different trend is being observed since recently – more illegal arms are being brought in Ukraine, than otherwise. The growing criminal activity is the reason. For instance, the minimum price for a Kalashnikov in Ukraine is 500 USD, and only 350 USD in Brussels.

But there is little doubt, that the war in south-eastern Ukraine has made the region attractive both for smugglers and extremists. How far the two kinds find each other is the question of time. In this respect, Donbass follows the path of Transnistria, Chechnya and the Balkans.

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