3 Held in Ukraine; Plane With Materiel for Balkans Seized
A group trying to smuggle more than four tons of ammunition to the former Yugoslav federation was arrested by Ukrainian authorities who seized their plane and cargo, officials said Friday.
Three men, two Ukrainians and a Pole, were charged Tuesday with attempting to break the U.N. embargo on the sale of weapons to the former Yugoslav republics.
The weapons were destined for Croatia, a Security Ministry official said on condition of anonymity. The Croatian Embassy refused to comment.
The three suspects in the smuggling case face charges of “attempting to illegally transport through Ukraine’s borders over 200,000 cartridges . . . to a zone of armed conflict in Yugoslavia,” the Security Ministry said. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison.
The men, whose names were withheld, claimed they were intermediaries for the Kenyan armed forces, said Anatoli Sakhno, spokesman for the national security service.
Meanwhile in Sarajevo, Bosnian Serb troops besieging the Bosnian capital seized a heavy cannon Friday from a U.N. storage depot but returned it at the demand of U.N. peacekeepers.
Ukrainian peacekeeping troops noticed that a 105-millimeter howitzer and some ammunition were missing from a depot they were guarding in Krivoglavci, about three miles northwest of Sarajevo, U.N. spokesman Maj. Dacre Holloway said.
When the peacekeepers demanded the cannon’s return, the Serbs brought a smaller 76-millimeter gun and no ammunition, Holloway said. The U.N. troops insisted on the original gun and ammunition, and the rebels finally returned them.
However, the Serbs took back the smaller howitzer. Its presence violated a North Atlantic Treaty Organization-enforced ban on heavy weapons in a 12.5-mile zone around Sarajevo.