Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed Ihor Bondarenko as new Head of Zakarpattia Regional State Administration.
During the presentation of a new governor in the premises of Zakarpattia customs office in the town of Uzhgorod on July 6, the president stressed his team was determined to combat smuggling, the president's press service has reported.
"Do not worry, we will support you. I believe it is people involved in smuggling and those 'covering' them who should be worried. This is the main 'hello' to you from Kyiv. That is why we came in such a delegation," Zelensky said.
It should be noted Acting Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov, Head of the Office of the President Andriy Bohdan, his deputies Oleksiy Honcharuk and Ruslan Riaboshapka, new Head of the State Customs Service of Ukraine Maksym Nefyodov and Acting Head of the State Fiscal Service Oleksandr Vlasov also visited the region.
The president emphasized his team wants to explain that from now on there is no need to bring anything "to the top."
Zelensky urged the attendees to cooperate with Ihor Bondarenko and added the leadership of Zakarpattia customs office, border service and prosecution must be purified. He also called on the heads of the customs offices in Volyn, Zakarpattia, Chernivtsi and Lviv regions to resign in two days. Otherwise, they will be dismissed in a different way.
"The country will be different. My advice to you: start working as normal people. Do not complain about low salaries. Just become professionals and work," Zelensky said.
The president also said he would sign a decree on the fight against smuggling on Monday.
In turn, Honcharuk, who is responsible for economic issues, emphasized during the meeting on the improvement of the customs and road infrastructure on the border that Ukraine had turned into a "global hub" for the smuggling of cigarettes to Europe. The smuggling of branded goods is also thriving despite the reports of the customs officials and border guards about the increase in their efficiency.
"Will European colleagues respect us after that? Can we count on a normal conversation? It is a rhetorical question," Honcharuk said.
He also emphasized that the fight against smuggling would help Ukraine repay debts to foreign creditors.
It should be noted that before the meeting Zelensky visited the Uzhgorod international automobile border crossing point and underscored the inadmissibility of delaying the launch of the scanning complex, which would ensure the transparent work of the customs office, the clearance of goods and the fight against smuggling.