The independent resource on global security

Ukrainian Exports of Small Arms and Light Weapons, 2004–2007

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Publisher: SIPRI
October, 2008

Ukraine inherited millions of small arms and light weapons (SALW) after the collapse of the Soviet Union and in the 1990s Ukrainian arms and ammunition found their way to conflicts and embargoed targets in Africa and the Middle East. However, Ukraine has made improvements in public transparency regarding SALW exports, particularly since 2006. This paper examines Ukrainian SALW exports to Africa, as recorded by the Ukrainian export control authorities, for the years 2004–2007. It highlights possible causes for concern and recommends further policy steps that Ukraine could take. It includes a list of published Ukrainian SALW exports for 2004–2007, translated from Ukrainian.

Ukraine is to be commended for demonstrating its commitment to regularly reporting its exports of SALW. However, Ukrainian SALW exports to three African countries—Chad, Kenya and Libya—raise questions over whether Ukraine is acting as a responsible exporter.

Ukraine could further demonstrate its credentials as a responsible arms exporter in two ways. First, it could provide more information on the intended end-users of Ukrainian SALW exports, as a means of enabling civil society to assist in monitoring the exports. Second, it could initiate a dialogue with the European Union (EU) to seek greater assistance to apply the criteria of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports.


Paul Holtom Paul Holtom is the Head of the Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme at UNIDIR. He was previously the Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.