Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Ukrainian diplomat involved in cigarette smuggling scandal to be prosecuted

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has not issued any permit for shipment of diplomatic cargo or mail to the husband of the first secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in Slovakia, Oksana Lischyshyn, who was detained when transporting contraband cigarettes, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko said. “The Foreign Affairs Ministry has not given this family any right to use any of our vehicles or our facilities, and no mail has been handed to them – diplomatic or otherwise,” Prystaiko said at a briefing in Kyiv. The deputy minister also said that a diplomatic passport alone does not give any right to evade customs inspection. “Only diplomats that work abroad and have diplomatic immunity have such a right, Prystaiko said. The press service of the Zakarpattia regional branch of the State Fiscal Service reported earlier an attempt to smuggle tobacco products across the state border by a holder of a diplomatic passport which was stopped at the Luzhanka checkpoint. On May 21, 2016, a Volkswagen Transporter van driven by a citizen of Ukraine entered the “green corridor” of the checkpoint. At the customs control, he presented a diplomatic pass of a citizen of Ukraine, a certificate of registration of the vehicle, and a letter of one of Ukraine’s embassies that the car is carrying diplomatic cargo, which, in accordance with the law, is not subject to control, the Fiscal Service reported. On Monday, May 23, Head of Zakarpattia Regional State Administration Hennadiy Moskal said that the detained a Volkswagen Transporter minibus with a cargo of smuggled cigarettes belongs to the Embassy of Ukraine in Slovakia, and its driver is “a resident of Kyiv, Serhiy Lischyshyn, who is the husband of the first secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in Slovakia.” “Customs officers contacted the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and after obtaining a permit the inspection of the minibus revealed 5,685 cartons of cigarettes worth UAH 620,000,” Moskal’s press office quoted him as saying.



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