Brussels is increasingly calling to donate 146 seized armored vehicles to Ukraine.
Prominent European parliamentarians, including Guy Verhofstadt and Nathalie Loisseu, are supporting the proposal, emphasizing the urgency of providing this crucial support to Ukraine.
The RTL Nieuws has reported that influential voices within the European Parliament are rallying behind the initiative. This move aims to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities and sends a clear message of solidarity in its ongoing conflict with Russia.
The United States recently seized thousands of rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition which were en route to the Yemeni civil war and donated them to Ukraine. In a similar vein, the European Union is exploring the possibility of transferring the confiscated armored vehicles to Ukraine.
Last year, the EU military mission IRINI, which patrols the Mediterranean to prevent violations of the UN arms embargo, has apprehended Shipping Company Groningen’s freighter, MV Meerdijk, while attempting to transport armored vehicles to Libya.
The MV Meerdijk was intercepted off the North African coast by a naval vessel from the EU military mission IRINI.
The MV Meerdijk was carrying 41 armored terrain vehicles of the BATT UMG type, originating from a factory in the United Arab Emirates, destined for Benghazi, a coastal city held by rebel general Khalifa Haftar.
After the military vehicles were discovered by IRINI mission inspectors, the ship was rerouted to the French port city of Marseille, where the vehicles were seized for violating sanctions. The MV Meerdijk was permitted to continue its journey after the military vehicles were seized.
Shipping Company Groningen asserted that it had acted entirely in accordance with applicable regulations and possessed all the necessary permits and documentation. The company also claimed to be cooperating with the IRINI inspectors’ investigation.
However, UN monitors found irregularities in the MV Meerdijk’s documentation, including the absence of an “end-user certificate,” a crucial document for the shipment of military goods. UN monitors also attempted to contact Shipping Company Groningen for clarification, but received no response. The company has declined to comment on the matter when approached by RTL Nieuws.
TAG Middle East FZC, the manufacturer of the armored vehicles, stated that the vehicles were intended for maintaining order and combatting illegal immigration in the country, and they argued that they fell outside the scope of sanctions. However, the UN committee rejected this claim.
The 41 armored terrain vehicles are not the only vehicles that were seized last year. On another transport ship intercepted by IRINI in the summer of 2022, over 100 converted Toyota terrain vehicles with mounted weaponry and armor were found.
In total, the EU mission IRINI has seized at least 146 military vehicles destined for Libya. These armored vehicles are currently stored near Marseille.
A spokesperson for EU mission IRINI confirmed that it is legally possible to donate the seized vehicles to an ally like Ukraine. Ultimately, the decision lies with the European Council of government leaders.