Every year, billions of dollars of Russian and Ukrainian weapons flow into conflict zones and sanctioned states around the world. But while pundits examine the political and military impacts of these arms transfer, no one has asked the basic question of how the weapons got from Point A to Point B—until now.
After 10 months of study, Tom Wallace and Farley Mesko at C4ADS, a non-profit research organization, have an answer: the Odessa Network, a loose collection of logistics contractors operating for the governments of Russia and the Ukraine. In their attempt to contribute to the understanding of the international arms trade, Wallace and Mesko, the authors of a new report chronicling their investigation and its findings, discovered unknown or under-reported arms transfers; specific companies and individuals who were facilitating those transfers; and familial, financial and professional links between key facilitators and the Russian and Ukrainian governments. In reviewing hard evidence about the numbers and types of weapons shipments made from Russia and the Ukraine to many different countries, the authors discovered that the data helps illustrate Russian foreign policy writ large and could provide important insight into the ongoing crisis in Syria.
The New America Foundation is pleased to welcome Wallace and Mesko for a discussion about the findings of their report, “The Odessa Network: Mapping Facilitators of Russian and Ukrainian Arms Transfers,” and a dialogue about how the United States can bring increased transparency to a very opaque weapons export process.