According to the data released by the State Export Control Service on the volumes of Ukrainian exports of certain categories of conventional weapons in 2010, the portfolio of contracts of the state company "Ukrspetsexport" for the export and import of products, as well as the provision of military and special services reached $ 956.7 million compared to $ 799, 5 million in 2009. As previously reported, Ukraine, due to large volumes of arms exports, was in 69th place in the ranking of the peace-loving states of the world. This rating is also based on unofficial information, according to which modern Ukraine is the most significant illegal arms dealer in the world.
From the published official data, it follows that the main buyers of Ukrainian weapons are African countries, among which the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan are leading in terms of purchases. A total of 250 units of armored vehicles and tanks were delivered to Africa. Of which 30 T-55 tanks and 100 T-72 tanks were purchased by the DRC, and 55 T-55 tanks and 60 T-72M tanks were purchased by Sudan. The DRC also received 12 artillery mounts of 122-mm self-propelled guns 2S1 "Gvozdika", BM-21 "Grad" and 152-mm self-propelled guns 2S3 "Akatsia", 3 82-mm mortars and 36 D-30 howitzers. In addition, the DRC in 2010 bought 3,000 rifles, 10,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 100 heavy and 500 light machine guns, as well as 1,780 grenade launchers of various types in Ukraine.
In addition, 26 pieces of 82-mm mortars were purchased by Kenya, about 2,5 thousand units of heavy and light automatic weapons were sent there. Uganda, insignificant in comparison with its neighbors, received about 40 thousand machine guns and hundreds of easel grenade launchers and heavy machine guns, which coincides with the total number of available personnel of the army of this state.
Former head of Ukrspetsexport Group of Companies Serhiy Bondarchuk questioned the published export volumes. “I don’t believe the figures presented. For 2010, according to my information, only an addendum to the contract with Sudan was signed. At the moment, the contracts signed under the previous team are being fulfilled,”said Mr. Bondarchuk. He noted that Ukrspetsexport cannot boast of expanding the geography of arms deliveries: “We had the opening of states, and now we are not able to hold on to what we have.”
Mykola Sungurovsky, head of military programs at the Razumkov Center, agrees with Sergei Bondarchuk: “For Ukraine, rather a minus than a plus, is the fact that most of the export of arms and equipment goes to African states. This is the market for low-tech products. As a rule, such customers buy products from the Soviet era”.
At the same time, it should be noted that it was the states of Africa and South America that increased spending on the purchase of weapons most significantly in 2010. According to the information provided by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in comparison with 2009 in 2010, African states increased their arms purchases by 5.2%, and South American states - by 5.8%.
According to the State Export Control Service, the United States of America and European countries are really lagging behind African states in the acquisition of Ukrainian heavy weapons. In particular, the United States needed only one T-80BV tank of 1985 design with dynamic protection of the Contact system, a 9K112-1 Cobra missile system, controlled by a laser beam, which allows it to shoot down helicopters, and 4 Grad installations. Minor parties, experts say, are necessary in order to master the characteristics of weapons, with the use of which states conducting military campaigns may face.
The increase in the volume of arms exports in 2010 to $ 956.7 million does not allow Ukraine in the foreseeable future to count on returning to the top ten arms dealer states. According to the SIPRI report published in March, Ukraine was in 12th place in terms of export volumes.
Meanwhile, experts argue that the SIPRI rating does not fully reflect the real situation in the arms trade, since its analysis does not include data on trade in certain types of arms. “Stockholm provides estimates of the movement of military capabilities, but not exports. For example, they do not contain data on small arms and components, and this is a fairly significant volume of our market,”explains Nikolai Sungurovsky.
It should be noted that the most significant buyers of small arms, according to the State Export Control Service, in addition to the specified Uganda, are the United States and Germany, which purchased in Ukraine, respectively, 95, 4 thousand and 32, 97 thousand rifles and carbines. In addition, they bought 4 thousand and 11, 63 thousand revolvers and pistols.
It was the presence of small arms, most of which Ukraine inherited from the USSR, that gave rise to the adviser to the president of the country, member of the parliamentary committee on national security and defense A. Kinakh to declare that “Ukraine has nevertheless become one of the ten largest arms exporters”. “This is due to the fact that we still have significant stocks of weapons manufactured during the Soviet era, which are still recognized in some states,” said Mr. Kinakh.