Alexander Gorobets: Ukraine has left too many traces in illegal weapon sales

As it became known today, experts from the UN Security Council came to conclusion that Ukraine, Slovakia, and Kyrgyzstan have been delivering weapons to Liberia, avoiding the UN sanctions against this country. One can understand that Liberia was supplied with ammunition from Ukraine, with guns from Slovakia, and spare parts for helicopters from Kyrgyzstan.

The UN sanctions against Liberia were imposed on November 19, 1992. Liberia has recently been mentioned as a country via the territory of which Osama bin Laden’s organization al Qaeda could carry diamonds from Sierra Leone. This was said yesterday by one of the experts of the committee that is in charge of the execution of the sanctions imposed against Liberia by the UN Security Council.

It is really surprising that Ukraine appears more and more in the information pertaining to the illegitimate weapon trade. RIA Novosti reported yesterday that Alexander Zhukov (the Ukrainian businessman who was charged by the prosecutor’s office of Italian Turin of the illegal weapon trade) was released. The news agency stated that Zhukov was conducting illegal activity during the period from 1992 to 1994, delivering weapons from Ukraine and Belarus to Croatia. He was also involved in weapon deliveries in 1999.

Pursuant to the information from the prosecutor’s office in Italy, the weapons were delivered to the Italian ports of Venice and Ankon and then sent to Croatia. This mechanism has been used eight times to carry over 13.5 thousand tons of weaponry. There were two firms set up in Turin to work as a cover-up for those operations.

The investigation of the case has not been completed yet; there are also proceedings being held simultaneously in Belgium pertaining to the delivery of weapons to Islamic terrorists.

At any rate, Zhukov was released, under the written undertaking not to leave the place of his living. Zhukov is a well-known figure in Italy. He has a gorgeous villa in Sardinia. The Italian special services arrested him right in his villa.

“Working” with Zhukov, the Italian police discovered the international network in April of this year, the network that was smuggling weapons to the Balkans during the 90s. The system was supervised by people originating from Russia and Ukraine. There were six people arrested during the case in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Italy.

So who is Alexander Zhukov? He is a 47-year-old citizen of the city of Odessa. During Soviet times, he was employed at the cinema studio of Odessa in the position of assistant director. When the Soviet era ended, he plunged into business and achieved a lot there. He is one of the owners of MorTransBank (Sea Transportation Bank) in Odessa and also the owner of several commercial firms, like, for example, Synthesis Oil.

The Russian-American newspaper Vecherniy New York published an extensive article reporting on Zhukov’s activity and about his enterprise Synthesis Oil in the field of illegal weapon trade. The newspaper wrote that Alexander Zhukov personally met Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. The article contains a piece of the conversation in the president’s office between Zhukov and Kuchma. This record was given to The Vecherniy New York by major Melnichenko, the former bodyguard of the Ukrainian president.

Zhukov complained (in that conversation) of not being introduced to Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yushenko. Kuchma said something like “Zhukov will be working not with Yushenko but with the head of the presidential administration.” Then, Kuchma made a call to the chief of his chancellery, Vladimir Litvin. When the head of the administration showed up in the office, Kuchma said, “Let me introduce Alexander Zhukov to you. You will work with him. He helped us through Pustovoytenko (Ukraine’s former premier).”

Well, here, we are introduced. It seems like we will be hearing more of Zhukov and also about Ukraine, which seems to have left too many traces in the field of the illegal sale of weapons in the world.

Alexander Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

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