The US is looking for post-Soviet weapons for Ukraine. Non-obvious direction

Finland has agreed to provide Ukraine with AK-47 ammunition and automatic rifles, and South Korea is supplying bulletproof vests, helmets and medical equipment. Other countries, such as Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Mexico, Colombia and Peru have not yet been persuaded to hand over offensive weapons to Ukraine, despite visits and discreet pressure from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, reports the New York daily.

But a promising source of post-Soviet weapons is Cyprus, which has rocket launchers, helicopters, tanks and armored vehicles, as well as Tor and Buk missile systems that can shoot down Russian planes, drones and missiles, the NYT writes.

To facilitate the transfer of post-Soviet reserves to Kiev, Washington has just lifted the embargo on arms sales to Cyprus introduced 35 years ago. These restrictions were intended to reduce the risk of an escalation of the conflict on an island divided between a government supported by Greece and a region controlled by Turkey; however, they made the Cypriot authorities stock up on weapons in Russia.

Lifting the embargo will allow Cyprus to purchase Western weapons that will replace the post-Soviet reserves, and these can be shipped to Ukraine. A US administration official told the NYT that Cyprus is already being viewed as a “potential option” in plans to supply Kiev with weapons.

Cyprus “is ready to consider” the transfer of some of its military supplies to Ukraine if “they are replaced by other military equipment of comparable strength and capabilities,” said Cypriot government spokesman Marios Pelekanos in a press release sent to the NYT.

The plan to hand over post-Soviet weapons to Ukraine was presented in July by the Washington think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, which identified 23 non-NATO countries critical of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and at the same time having Soviet or Russian weapons reserves, the daily explains.