"СЕНСС" мая 2, 2024 No Comments

The theses of the Executive Director of the CENSS Viktoriia Voronina were published in the collection of theses of the XII International Scientific and Practical Conference “Modern Problems of Management. The Path to Sustainable Peace after the War: State, Business, Innovation”. It was held on November 24, 2023 by the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” under the organization of the Faculty of Sociology and Law.

The Russian-Ukrainian war had a significant impact on all aspects of the functioning of the state and society. One of the direct consequences of the war is a rapid increase in the number of small arms and light weapons on the territory of Ukraine and their further “flowing” into the sphere of illegal circulation. The prevalence of small arms and light weapons among civilians, including those who have never served in the military, veterans, military reservists, and others, affects a wide range of social relationships.

The number of people who acquired weapons skills during their time in the Defense Forces of Ukraine is gradually increasing. A change in citizens’ perception of personal and group security, their perception of weapons as a means of solving business and other conflicts, potential access to illegal weapons of national and international criminal or terrorist organizations, changes in the nature of violent crimes – all these factors determine the need for an appropriate response from state and society.

On the other hand, this need to respond is determined not only by public demand, but also by national legislation, as well as Ukraine’s international obligations. Failure to fulfill the latter can become a significant obstacle to the state’s reconstruction, recovery according to the principle of “build back better” and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, which since 2019 have been defined as a benchmark in the programmatic and legislative activity of the authorities in accordance with the Decree of the President of Ukraine [1].

Thus, the Law of Ukraine “On National Security” defines that the protection of the interests, rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen vital to society and the individual is a priority task of the activities of both the security forces and other state bodies, local self-government bodies, their officials and public, which should act in synergy with each other [2].

At the same time, with the need to prevent the negative consequences of the spread of small arms and light weapons and to counter their illegal circulation, Ukraine must accelerate its way to becoming a member of the European Union. Today, the EU and its member states provide Ukraine with significant funding for post-war and crisis recovery, while emphasizing the need for Ukraine’s continued implementation of the Association Agreement as a condition for such support.[3] This agreement, in particular its article 12, provides that:

– the parties develop further cooperation on disarmament, in particular the reduction of excessive stocks of small arms and light weapons;

– cooperation in the field of disarmament includes arms control, export control and the fight against illegal trade in arms, in particular small arms and light weapons.

– the parties to the agreement promote general adherence to and compliance with international documents and strive to ensure their effectiveness, in particular by implementing relevant resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations.

Despite the establishment in Article 12 of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU of the provisions regarding the need to combat illegal arms trafficking, the Action Plan for its implementation by the Ukrainian side still does not contain specific activities regarding the organization of cooperation on the mentioned issues. Similarly, reports on the implementation of the Agreement from the Government do not contain information on the results of the implementation of the provisions of Article 12 of the Agreement by the Ukrainian side.

In addition, the National Report “Sustainable Development Goals: Ukraine” [4], which was prepared in 2017, even before the beginning of the large-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, states: a sharp increase in the number of weapons, special equipment and explosive materials in illegal possession in Ukraine circulation, which is a source of risks for the personal safety of citizens and the protection of law and order; increasing the risks of using firearms and explosives not only in organized criminal activity, but also when committing other types of offenses, including domestic ones; the need to radically reduce the number of weapons, special equipment and explosive materials in illegal circulation, as a necessary condition for reducing the level of violence in the country; the need for comprehensive approaches aimed at preventing the movement of weapons from the zone of military conflict, identifying places of illegal storage of weapons and explosives, countering the use of weapons in the commission of criminal and other offenses; the expediency of developing clear and transparent procedures for the detection of weapons and explosives, especially during their probable movement from the zone of armed conflict in the east of Ukraine, taking into account the priority of ensuring the safety of life and health of citizens.

It is worth noting that in the 2017 National Report, the issue of reducing illegal arms trafficking is a task of Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”. We believe that a comprehensive and systematic vision of state policy to combat illegal arms trafficking at the national and local levels should take this Goal into account. Its achievement involves building a peaceful and open society in the interests of sustainable development, ensuring access to justice for all and creating effective, accountable and participatory institutions at all levels, which is an extremely important factor in the country’s development. This goal is given an extremely important place, as it is noted that the achievement of all other Sustainable Development Goals largely depends on the achievement of this goal in Ukraine [4].

Therefore, even during the publication of the text of the National Report, the threat from an increase in the volume of illegal arms trafficking was identified, and the 2019 Presidential Decree “On the Sustainable Development Goals of Ukraine for the period until 2030” established the need for authorities to respond to them accordingly. As of 2023, the level of threats from the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and their illegal circulation has only increased. At the same time, the vulnerability of society, individual social groups and categories has increased.

After February 24, 2022, the risk of losing control over the circulation and use of weapons has increased. Weapons that have been removed from the combat zone and are not used on the battlefield have become a threat to human rights. These are also situations of family conflicts, raids, crimes against property, crimes against life and health of people, organized criminal acts, international organized criminal groups. In addition, civil society organizations are not properly involved in the process of developing legislation on gun ownership and self-defense. The situation is complicated by the question of ensuring democratic civilian control in the security and defense sector: transparency and accountability of state bodies under martial law is limited, and many statistics and data are closed to the public.

The lack of a holistic vision of the problem of illegal arms trafficking and its consequences deprives of the opportunity to form a state policy to combat illegal arms trafficking, reducing its understanding only to the activities of law enforcement agencies. However, the factors and consequences of the proliferation of weapons in illegal circulation are manifested in many spheres – social, security, economic, international relations, especially taking into account the factor of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the European integration processes of our country.

In our opinion, the lack of an active position of the state in the issues of preventing and countering illegal arms trafficking can become a significant obstacle in Ukraine’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Based on the analysis of the provisions of the above-mentioned Presidential Decree, the absence of policies and comprehensive measures to reduce the illegal circulation of weapons, ammunition and explosive materials is highly likely to have a negative impact on the processes aimed at ensuring the national interests of Ukraine with regard to the sustainable development of the economy, civil society and the state in order to achieve increase in the level and quality of life of the population, adherence to the constitutional rights and freedoms of man and citizen.


  1. Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 722/2019 “On the Sustainable Development Goals of Ukraine for the period until 2030” dated September 30, 2019. URL: https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/722/2019#Text (access date: 20.11.2023).
  2. Law of Ukraine dated June 21, 2018 No. 2469-VIII “On National Security of Ukraine”. URL: https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/2469-19#Text (access date: 20.11.2023).
  3. Association Agreement between Ukraine, on the one hand, and the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, on the other hand, ratified by Law No. 1678-VII dated 16.09.2014. URL: https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/1678-18#Text (access date: 20.11.2023).
  4. National report “Sustainable Development Goals: Ukraine”. URL: https://www.kmu.gov.ua/storage/app/sites/1/natsionalna-dopovid-csr-Ukrainy.pdf (access date: 20.11.2023).


The full collection of conference theses is available here: https://ktpu.kpi.ua/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Suchasni-problemy-upravlinnya-2023.pdf

Photo source: National Police of Ukraine