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Ukraine became independent in 1991 and possesses a large weapons, ammunition and explosives stockpile inherited from the Soviet Union. The outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014 led to the widespread proliferation of small arms and light weapons and conventional ammunition. This ammunition, which has spread to nearly every oblast (region) of Ukraine, poses an immediate threat to Ukrainian security and a potential threat to other states. Efforts to remedy the situation have involved cooperation between the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Ukrainian authorities to combat the illicit trafficking of weapons, ammunition and explosives in the country and across borders (though the trafficking of illicit ammunition outside of Ukraine has been reported as minimal).In parallel, organisations such as the HALO Trust and NATO have worked in Ukraine, with US funding, to build ammunition stores and to support the through-life management of ammunition and small arms and light weapons, including disposal activities. Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 will, however, inevitably reverse many previous efforts and pose new challenges to the control and management of small arms and light weapons and ammunition in Ukraine and the entire region. Parts of Ukrainian territory continue to be occupied by Russia.2

“OSCE Supports Ukraine's Efforts in Combating Illicit Trafficking of Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives,” OSCE, March 12, 2019,; Matt Schroeder and Olena Shumska, Making the Rounds: Illicit Ammunition in Ukraine (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2021),

"Ukraine," Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project (RULAC), Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, updated February 5, 2022,

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Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, 23 accidental explosions have been reported in Ukraine.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Ukraine (1979–2021)

Year Location Owner/Manager Deaths Injuries
2019 Balakliya State (military) 3 4
2019 Hnutove State (military) 2 3
2019 Donetsk Non-state (actor) N/A N/A
2019 Donbas Non-state (actor) N/A N/A
2019 Kalynivka State (military) 0 0
2018 Balakliya State (military) 0 0
2018 Ichniya State (military) 0 63
2017 Balakliya State (military) 1 1
2017 Kalynivka State (military) 0 2
2015 Krasny Chaban State (military) 6 11
2015 Svatove State (military) 4 54
2014 Donetsk State (military) 0 0
2014 Oleksandrivsk State (military) 0 0
2011 Shostka State (military) 2 1
2010 Hruzevystaya State (other) 0 1
2008 Lozovaya State (military) 0 3
2008 Lozovaya State (military) 0 3
2007 Novobogdanovka Unknown 2 1
2006 Novobogdanovka State (military) 0 4
2005 Novobogdanovka State (military) 0 0
2005 Tsvitokha Unknown 9 11
2004 Melitopol State (military) 5 85
2003 Artemovsk Unknown 0 2

Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Since 2013, 1,367 cases of diversion2 have been reported in Ukraine, several of which have included ammunition. 

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Ukraine since 2016

Year Location Description
2020 Odesa A service member with the Armed Forces of Ukraine stole 18 RGD-5 grenades; 12 F-1 grenades; and 2 anti-tank mines from a military base and hid them near a power facility. The offender sold two of the grenades to an identified end user.
2019 Donetsk Two service members deployed in the ATO/JFO area diverted an unspecified quantity of small-calibre ammunition from a military facility by decommissioning and reselling them.
2019 Luhansk and Donetsk Ukrainian authorities arrested two service members and an accomplice for attempting to sell 15 RPG-22 grenade launchers; 40 RGD-5 grenades; and 2,454 rounds of 7.62 mm cartridges.
2018 Donetsk A service member from a local military base tried to ship 1 F-1 grenade and 1 RGD-5 grenade to their residence.
2018 Kyiv A former military service member and a police sergeant who served in the ATO/JFO area illegally acquired over 7,000 rounds of firearms ammunition; 27 RGD-5 and 15 F-1 grenades; 4 MON-50 mines; and 4 RPG-22 and RPG-26 rocket launchers.
2016 Zhytomyr After supervising target practice at a local military base, a service member hid 131 5.45 mm rounds; 13 cartridges; and 43 blanks in his backpack. The ammunition was found at his residence later.

Source: Matt Schroeder and Olena Shumska, Making the Rounds: Illicit Ammunition in Ukraine, pp. 34-35.

Note: The cases referenced in this table concern violations of Article 410 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code on the ‘Theft, extortion, or racketeering of firearms, ammunition, and explosives, as well as means of transportation, military, and special equipment, as well as other military property; as well as possession of these items by fraud or abuse of office’ (Criminal Code of Ukraine. No. 2341-III, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, 5 April, 2001; Small Arms Survey compilation of data from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, Statistical Information: Reports on Criminal Offences in the Country (2011–20), 


To decrease the above-mentioned risks of accidental explosions and diversion, Ukraine has continuously disposed of its ammunition since 2006.

Table 3. Disposal of tonnes of ammunition in Ukraine (2006–20)

Year Tonnes of ammunition
2006–11 15,000
2012–18 27,900
2019–20 1,700

Source: “Disposal of Unserviceable Ammunition Resumes in Ukraine under NATO Trust Fund Project,” NATO Support and Procurement Organisation (NSPO), August 18, 2020,; “Ukraine II - Phase 2,” SALW & MA Information Sharing Platform, NATO, February 2019,


Further requirements for an effective through-life management of ammunition in the Ukraine.

  • Post-conflict clearance activities.
Published Date: Thursday 23 of November 2023