Arms-Trade Data Sharing, Ukraine III
Here are a pair of images from my colleague Andrew Kramer, of the Moscow bureau, of a shotgun shell he found on Independence Square after the clashes late last month between antigovernment demonstrators and the authorities. Scores of people died on the square and the streets nearby.
The pics show a 12-gauge Remington shotgun slug, which was an apparent dud. (Please notice the firing-pin indentation on the primer in the bottom image. Do you see the small circular dent? It seems someone tried to fire this slug, and it didn’t work.)
It’s not common to see Remington products — an apparent deer slug, no less — out there at the scene of large-scale violence on foreign soil. So this one is especially interesting.
When Andrew shared the images with me, he said the people he interviewed near the shell said it had been used by the police.
That may be so. As I do not have access to the ammunition procurement lists for the various forces in Kiev at the time, I won’t venture to say what they were armed with, absent much more data. Moreover, there is talk in Kiev that police units involved in the clashes ran low of ammunition and hastily resupplied themselves via local purchases in sporting-arms shops. (In other words, even if official procurement lists were public, and did not show purchases of Remington slugs, the presence of sporting ammunition at the scene would not automatically mean that such ammunition was not in government service, as sporting ammunition may have been in official use in late February on the Maidan via expedient means.)
But it may also be that this slug was used by armed demonstrators, some of whom had firearms in the last days of the clashes, and who would also be expected to have access to ammunition of this class.
We have left Ukraine to get back to another assignment. So I am sharing this here for other researchers to work on, should they wish. It is a tantalizing find.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS
By Andrew Kramer/The New York Times.