Numerous weapons confiscated during EU-coordinated joint operation in Ukraine and Moldova

Photo: EUBAM
Photo: EUBAM

Some 300 pieces of small arms, almost 1,500 pieces of light weapons, more than 140,000 pieces of ammunition and over 200 kg worth of explosives were seized by Moldovan and Ukrainian law enforcement agencies during a Joint Operation codenamed “ORION”.

The Joint Operation was coordinated by the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) in cooperation with the European Union law enforcement agency (Europol).

During the Joint Operation ORION, public awareness raising campaigns were organised to encourage the voluntary handover –without any criminal liability – of illegally possessed firearms . As a result, a considerable number of arms and ammunitions were voluntarily handed over by Moldovan and Ukrainian citizens.

The Joint Operation ORION was carried out in three operational phases, from September 2018 until January 2019, and covered the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

This operation provided a great opportunity for information exchange on the people involved, modus operandi and smuggling channels. It was part of common efforts undertaken between the EUBAM, Europol, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and other Member States to tackle the threats related to cross-border crime in the region and contributed to improving the situational picture in the trafficking of illegal weapons.

EUBAM has worked in both the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine since 2005. The Mission’s main objective, however, has remained unchanged throughout all these years: to improve the service delivery to the citizens of both countries involved (e.g. through shorter waiting periods at border crossings and by strengthening border security) and assisting the authorities in the fight against fraud and smugglers.

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