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 Interior Minister announces new raids against ‘amber mafia’: "Similar actions to be taken in Zhytomyr and Volyn regions"

The Ministry of Internal Affairs will conduct special operations against the "amber mafia" in the Zhytomyr and Volyn regions similar to the one recently carried out in the Rivne region.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov told at a briefing held after the opening ceremony of the Ukraine's first customer service center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform.

"This operation (against the 'amber mafia' - Ed.) affected only the Rivne region so far, since the situation there escalated most. But the developments in the Zhytomyr and Volyn regions are similar. So comparable processes will take place there," Avakov said.

Read more: Illegal amber dealers' yearly earnings equal to Ukraine's defense budget, prosecutor general says

He added that the state concept for amber extraction regulation, drafted by the Ecology Ministry should be published soon.

"We have terminated a theft practice, figuratively speaking. It is necessary to provide a legal, state-regulated way to do this, otherwise the vacuum will create chaos," the official said.

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.
 
 
 
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