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Illegal amber extraction in Ukraine’s north may lead to environmental disaster — official

According to the National Police chief, the issue has been raised at the national level for the first time

KIEV, August 12. /TASS/. Illegal production of amber in the north of Ukraine may turn this territory into an environmental disaster area, head of the National Police of Ukraine Sergei Knyazev said at a meeting on combating the illegal amber extraction on Monday.

"[There will be] catastrophic consequences for the environment — more than 6,200 hectares of damaged forest land and more than 1,000 hectares of agricultural land," he said.

"In the absence of mechanisms for environmental and restoration work, further developments may lead to the need to declare the northern part of our country an environmental disaster area," he concluded.

According to Knyazev, the illegal production, which is going on openly, involves local residents, who have repeatedly resisted attempts by state representatives to stop the unlawful amber mining. The head of police also noted that now the issue has for the first time been raised at the national level.

The meeting on illegal amber mining was chaired by President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky. In his opening remarks, the president noted that uncontrolled extraction of semiprecious stones has been a serious problem since 2014.