25 October, Odesa – Representatives of Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies today presented details of the country’s Strategy for Preventing Illicit Tobacco Goods Production and Turnover. Approved on 23 August this year, the Strategy sets out measures to enhance Ukraine’s legislation, operational capacity and infrastructure for law enforcement agencies to effectively detect, investigate, seize and prosecute large-scale tobacco smuggling.
Ukraine’s border, customs and law enforcement agencies developed the Strategy in close cooperation with the tobacco industry and international partners. EUBAM supported its drafting, using the EU’s Strategy on Illicit Tobacco and those of individual EU Member States, as models.
The Strategy was presented during the EUBAM-led Task Force Tobacco meeting, which unites Ukraine and Moldova’s border and customs agencies, the tobacco industry and international law-enforcement bodies on issues related to the illicit trade in cigarettes.
Andrew Tesoriere, Head of EUBAM, underlined that; “Improving co-operation is a critical component for effective counter-measures to tobacco smuggling. The benefit of the Task Force Tobacco forum is that it brings together all stakeholders in one place to foster that collaboration. The need for Ukraine’s anti-illicit tobacco strategy was first identified through the Task Force Tobacco and I am pleased the approved Strategy places an onus on inter-agency and international co-operation. In discussing these issues, EUBAM continues to remain mindful of citizen choice and public safety”.
Colonel Andriy Biloborodchenko, Head of the Press Office of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service’s Southern Regional Directorate also emphasised the importance of inter-agency and international co-operation in countering tobacco smuggling, highlighting that: “Over the last three years, thanks to uniting the efforts of all law enforcement agencies of Ukraine and active co-operation with international partners and law enforcement agencies of neighboring countries we have managed to minimize the routes for the smuggling of tobacco products.”