Fact Check: NO Evidence Swedish And NATO Anti-Tank Missiles Ended Up In Hands Of Mexican Cartel

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  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: NO Evidence Swedish And NATO Anti-Tank Missiles Ended Up In Hands Of Mexican Cartel Monitored

Did Swedish-made AT-4 anti-tank shoulder-fired missile systems that Sweden and NATO sent to Ukraine end up on the black market and in the hands of a Mexican drug cartel? No, that's not true: Military supplies delivered by NATO to Ukraine are closely monitored and documented. As part of a disinformation campaign, pro-Kremlin propaganda has shared the narrative that weapons delivered to Ukraine would not be used to defend against the Russian aggression but sold to criminal organizations.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok (archived here) by @petylawrence on June 1, 2023.

The Bulgarian text on top and beneath the video (translated into English by Lead Stories staff) reads:

NATO anti-tank weapon supplied to Ukraine was found in the hands of a Mexican drug cartel.

Who else are they arming in this arms-running spree?

The Bulgarian text overlaid on the bottom (also translated by Lead Stories staff) adds:

Some pay taxes, some make money... This crazy, crazy world!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-06-20 at 8.02.54.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jun 20 05:09:31 2023 UTC)

The TikTok video shows a segment by RT, a Russian pro-Kremlin propaganda network, whose logo on the lower left part of the screen is deliberately covered by emojis, even though a caption referring to RT News is still visible at the 0:16 mark on the video. The RT footage is based on a news report by Milenio TV, a Mexican TV station, which, due to mistranslation, has sparked baseless claims that a Mexican cartel had been getting weapons trafficked from Ukraine.

The RT news report in the TikTok video claims that the anti-tank weapon shown "appears to be" a Swedish-made AT-4, and that NATO weaponry has ended up on the black market, adding that thousands of such anti-tank weapons had been supplied to Ukraine. While the weapon shown in the Mexican TV news report was an AT-4, the RT News report does not provide any evidence that it was Swedish-made or that it had been smuggled from Ukraine.

On January 19, 2023, the Swedish government announced that it would send a military support package to Ukraine, which included 5,000 AT-4 anti-tank weapons. The AT-4 anti-tank system is used by the armies of more than 20 countries including Venezuela, where the AT-4 has been part of the army arsenal since the 1980s, as reported by Army Technology on July 30, 2018.

Concern has been raised that some of the weapons supplied to Ukraine could end up in the wrong hands or on the black market, but, the Pentagon, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development reported in March 2023 that no substantiated evidence of "significant waste, fraud or abuse" of American aid sent to Ukraine had emerged yet.

In an article from February 28, 2023, published on the U.S. Department of Defense's website, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl says that the U.S. provided Ukraine with the ability to track the military systems and military aid.

An article on Military.com from February 23, 2023, states:

Pentagon tells Congress there's no evidence US weapons sent to Ukraine are being misused.

More articles about the Pentagon officials' testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in February 2023 can be found here and here.

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