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 Illegal amber dealers’ yearly earnings equal to Ukraine’s defense budget, prosecutor general says

The revenues from the illegal extraction of amber in Ukraine equal to the country's defense expenditures.

As reported by Censor.NET citing Interfax-Ukraine, this was announced by Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yurii Lutsenko in an interview to TSN.

"According to preliminary estimates, the amber dealers earn as much over a year as the country's military budget requires. The amber deposits are situated almost all over the Ukrainian Polissia region. Therefore, this is a serious prospect for the state," Lutsenko said Sunday.

The prosecutor general noted that only a third part of the 'amber mafia' members was detained in the course of the 'Burshtyn' ('Amber' - Ed.) operation held July 4.

"This is only one-third of its members as the criminal rings still operating in the Volyn, Zhytomyr regions, and even in the Rivne region are no less powerful," Lutsenko stressed.

The prosecutor general also said that he believed legalization and state control over amber extraction was the way out of the developed situation.

Read more: Lutsenko appoints Romanchuk acting prosecutor of Rivne region

In addition, Lutsenko noted in an interview that a person without professional or personal relations with the Rivne region's officials should become the new local prosecutor. The prosecutor general clarified that the competition to select a suitable candidate was underway.

Ealier, the issue of illegal amber extraction in the territory of the Zhytomyr, Rivne, and Volyn regions spread last year. Thousands of locals and out-of-towners started mining amber illegally and indiscriminately, thus savagely destroying local ecosystems.

This year's scale of illegal extraction was so large that the authorities were forced to deploy the National Guard of Ukraine detachments in these regions.

The law enforcement agencies have been increasingly reporting about arrests of large-volume amber dealers.

According to experts, this problem can be resolved not only by raids against the illegal miners, but also by a legislative initiative. The Volyn Regional Council authorized a company to develop amber for the first time in May 2015.

See more: Prosecutor General Lutsenko shows valuables found during Kliuiev's house search. PHOTOS

July 4, law enforcers conducted a large-scale operation titled 'Burshtyn' (amber) in the Rivne region, with participation of more than 400 field investigators. Deputy head of Rivne regional prosecutor Andrii Borovyk has been detained. The National Police also informed that an amber mafia boss was detained in Kyiv. Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko dismissed Rivne regional prosecutor Anatolii Kovalchuk July 7.

Источник: https://censor.net.ua/en/n396870