Europol chief warns of ‘criminals’ after Ukraine conflict

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Europol chief warns of ‘criminals’ after Ukraine conflict

The EU s law enforcement chief told German media that the weapons could end up in the hands of criminals.

The head of Europol, Catherine De Bolle, warned that weapons currently being delivered to Ukraine could end up in the hands of criminals operating on the continent.

According to her interview with Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper published on Saturday, De Bolle said that one of the things that were of concern to her organization was the whereabouts of the weapons that are currently being delivered to Ukraine. She said that when the conflict ends, Europol wants to prevent a situation similar to that of 30 years ago in the Balkan war. She said that the weapons from that war are still being used by criminal groups today.

One of the main priorities of Europol is to find a way in which we will deal with the situation after a possible end to the war, according to De Bolle. According to her, Europol will be assembling an international task force that will address this issue. The official said that Europe is experiencing unprecedented levels of violence on the streets, similar to the situation seen so far in Latin American countries. De Bolle said that corruption in the EU is larger than we thought. More than half of the criminal organizations of Europol are watching the services of corrupt officials in one way or another to facilitate their illegal business, according to the agency s chief.

As for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, another major area of concern for Europol is the travel of known terrorists and extremists prepared to use violence in the war zone, according to De Bolle.

She said that while Europol is monitoring the phenomenon very closely, the situation is highly dynamic and fragmented. The EU s law enforcement agency has so far not been able to pinpoint the total number of such people, as individual European countries are providing Europol with different data, De Bolle acknowledged.

According to the official assessment, the people who are going to fight in Ukraine do not represent a homogeneous group, but rather adhere to different ideologies. She noted that Europol is seeing some of these fighters return to their home countries disillusioned, having seen firsthand the brutality of the war. Since Russia started its offensive in Ukraine in late February, a large-scale attack on all 27 countries has not materialized, according to De Bolle, a major player in the European Union, and Europol has seen a rise in cyberattacks in various EU member states.

Since Moscow launched a military operation against its neighbor, a number of EU member states, as well as the UK and the US have been actively supplying weapons to Kiev.

During the first month of the conflict, Ukraine s Western backers provided mostly the country with portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. More recently, the focus has shifted to heavy weapons.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden signed the Lend-Lease Act into law with the intent of speeding up sending military equipment to Ukraine.

On May 21, Biden approved legislation that would provide additional $40 billion in assistance to Kiev.

Russia insists that the shipment of Western weapons will only serve to prolong the conflict. The Kremlin has warned that the weapons supplied to Ukrainian forces could eventually fall into the hands of terrorists and criminals elsewhere. According to a Russian official, the supplies of man-portable anti-aircraft missiles to Kiev are of particular concern, which could be used by terrorists to target civil aircraft.