Will Russia Ukraine crisis mean end of Wolf and Tula ammo, Saiga firearms in US?
Following the recent upheaval in former Soviet Socialist republic of the Ukraine, Russian troops are streaming into the country in an effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to overturn the new government. On the pretext of protecting Russian speaking minorities in the Ukraine, these troops are fanning out and seizing bases. With the US and Europe now considering sanctions, what does this mean to the gun owner in the US?
(Russian troops have been fanning out across the Ukraine in recent weeks)
Last month the Ukraine ignited in civil unrest against the government that soon turned into open rebellion in the streets. As the president of the country fled to neighboring Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to recognize the new government in Kiev. This soon led to a drastic increase in troops based at a number of Russian naval ports in the Crimean peninsula, which were grandfathered by treaty even after the Ukraine broke away from the country in 1991.
(This graphic from the WSJ shows the recent Russian troop movements in the Crimea that are prompting an international response that could include economic sanctions on Russia)
Now, with Ukrainian and Russian troops standing toe to toe, it would seem that this situation is growing ever more hazardous.
Russian soldiers firing warning shots at Ukrainian troops this week. Some 16,000 Russian troops have been surged into the country in recent weeks and the area is a powder keg.
Since the Ukraine is isolated militarily, NATO more than likely will not get involved in a war over the country's freedom or its possession of the Crimean peninsula. However the European Union is considering an arms embargo against Russia over the Ukraine.
US President Barack Obama warned Moscow it would find itself "on the wrong side of history" - and that Russia's deployment of troops in Ukraine violated international law.
The US has suspended all military engagements with Russia over its deployment of troops in Crimea.
Should the US impose the same sort of sanctions that the EU is proposing, this could mean an embargo on guns and ammunition from Russia.
What would an embargo look like?
(Russian made Tula ammo, although steel cased, is popular with shooters in the US as its 1. available, and 2. affordable)
Today the US is awash with inexpensive ammo made in former Soviet, now-Russian, arms plants. Sold under the Tula, Wolf, Silver Bear, Golden Tiger, and Golden Bear names, this stuff has become standard plinking ammo ranging from .22LR to .308 with stops at just about every popular caliber in between.
In particular these rounds in 5.56 and 7.62x39mm are extremely popular.
Should an US embargo cut off these Russian bullets from coming in, you can expect a dwindling of the supply of these brands within just a few months as those 'in the pipeline' are moved from customs holding to importers to distributors and finally to your local store shelves. If an embargo lasts longer than that, these could disappear altogether.
The same can be said for Saiga shotguns and rifles produced in Russia.
(Dont let the backwards letters fool you, this stuff is from Rumania)
While there are a number of Eastern European ammunition makers such as Seller and Belliot (Czech Republic) Privi Partisan (Serbia) and Red Army Standard Ammo (Rumania) out there to pick up the slack, with ammunition backorders just now catching up from the 2013 gun control scare, another extended crisis could definitely cause problems.
Then there is always the specter of if things turn bad in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, that even if there is no embargo, there could be a shooter-imposed boycott of Russian-made ammo and arms as a show of solidarity. After all, there is a huge Ukrainian-American community and we as a country have always rooted for an underdog standing up to the Russkis.
There has already been instances of US arms companies cutting off shipments to Russia over the Ukraine.
From Predator Intelligence: "Effective immediately, Inteliscope LLC has decided to refuse all future sales of Inteliscope smartphone-rifle-adapters to Russia and intends to maintain this policy until Ukraine is no longer illegally occupied by Russian troops."
Sit tight boys and girls, this could get interesting.