The city of Miami is transferring 167 firearms to Irpin, in the Kyiv region of Ukraine, as recently announced by Oleksandr Markushyn, Mayor of Irpin, on Telegram.
The dispatch, the first of its kind from the US, was organised by Miami Commissioner Ken Russell via the so-called ‘Guns 4 Ukraine’ campaign. Facilitated by the Miami Police Department, the initiative began collecting weapons in July by confiscating illegal arms and buying back pre-owned rifles from US citizens.
“The City of Miami has set up a voluntary gun buyback programme to assist in providing safety and defense equipment to Ukraine [and take guns off our streets],” said the Miami Police Department’s Guns 4 Ukraine page.
“Your donations will be used to assist Ukraine support efforts. Receive a gift card starting at $50 for an old, unused, or found weapons, no questions asked. Do your part to make our streets safer. Visa Gift Cards will be exchanged for the weapons in the following amounts: $50 firearm, $100 shotgun or rifle, $150 high-powered assault rifle (.223 Caliber, AR-15, AK-47).” Alongside this, Irpin and Miami are also set to become sister cities.
Markushyn emphasised in his Telegram announcement that the weapons transfer “is a precedent in the history of international partnership between Ukraine and the US”. According to him, the small arms that the Ukrainian city will receive from Miami will be handed over to Irpin policemen and territorial defence fighters.
The mayor also stated: “Today we are developing a model according to which, I sincerely believe, in the future, Irpin and other cities of Ukraine will be able to receive weapons for their defence. In particular, negotiations are ongoing with the city of Houston.”
While Miami is the first city government to send over weapons through a crowdfunded model (of sorts), other government bodies have undertaken similar campaigns. In May, for example, the US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement handed over 21 armoured vehicles to the Ukrainian Border Guards and National Police.