Supporting the State Customs Service in preventing the illicit tracking in WAE

Project Info
1 October 2019 - 30 September 2022
Gender Marker

The project implementation team consists of:

  • National Project Officer,
  • Senior Training Assistant, and
  • Project Assistant.

The project objective is to assist the State Customs Service of Ukraine (SCS of Ukraine) in preventing and combating illicit trafficking of weapons, ammunition and explosives (WAE) in and across Ukraine’s borders.


The main outcome of the project is enhanced capacity of the State Customs Service of Ukraine to combati illicit trafficking of WAE.


THis project will implement following activitites:

Activity 1.1 Comprehensive Training Programme in preventing and combatting illicit trafficking of WAE for the SFS / SCS of Ukraine;

Activity 1.2 Equipment assistance programme in preventing and combating trafficking in WAE for the SFS / SCS of Ukraine;

Activity 1.3 Canine assistance programme in preventing and combating trafficking in WAE for the SCS / SFS of Ukraine;

Activity 1.4 Supporting inter-agency cooperation measures and expert networking in preventing and combatting illicit trafficking in WAE.


Risk management plan is in place developed to address eight distinct risks recognized by the Project implemetnation Team. Risk Management Plan is regularly updated in order to reflect the project implementation environment.   

Background And Justification

Illicit trafficking and illegal proliferation of WAE across state borders contributes to increased security and safety risks in OSCE pS that adversely affect societies and economies, not only in border areas, but as a whole. Moreover, destabilizing accumulation and uncontrolled spread of illicit WAE in the country undermines stability and internal security of any state. Thus, combating illicit trafficking of WAE inherently supports efforts to fight organized crime, terrorism, as well as effective implementation of border security and management regimes. Moreover, these efforts build confidence, security and transparency through appropriate measures.

The OSCE Secretariat, based on the initial request of the State Border Guards Service of Ukraine made in May 2016, carried out the “Needs Assessment for Combatting the Illicit Trafficking in Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives in/and Across Ukraine’s Borders” (in continuation Needs assessment). The Needs assessment, which was published in April 2018, revealed that the current approach to detecting the illicit trafficking of WAE in/across Ukraine’s borders is proving challenging. The support in terms of human and technical resources development is required, further improvement of legislation framework is much needed, while inter-agency level coordination, as well as international support and cooperation needs to be enhanced. The Needs assessment also highlighted that the Ukrainian authorities clearly understood current and looming threats of illicit WAE trafficking in and across Ukraine’s borders and were committed to improve the situation on the ground.

Thus, the Needs assessment established the baseline for providing technical assistance and institutional support to develop capacities of Ukrainian authorities in their efforts to combat the trafficking in WAE in a holistic way. This baseline included capacities enhancement of the SCS of Ukraine. The Needs assessment report was shared with the national stakeholders via the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the OSCE in mid-April 2018.

On 7 June 2018, the OSCE Secretariat organized the high-level meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, to discuss key findings of Needs assessment and determine potential areas for subsequent project co-operation. The event was attended by the key national counterparts engaged in the Needs assessment, i.e. SBGS, Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), State Customs Service (SCS), National Police, Security Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of UA, who had univocally acknowledged the Needs assessment report, expressed needs for technical assistance and readiness for future cooperation with the OSCE.

Against this background, on 13 July 2018, the SCS of Ukraine officially, in written form, expressed interest and requested cooperation with the OSCE Secretariat in supporting Ukraine’s efforts to combat illicit trafficking of WAE in all its aspects.

Moreover, on 12 March 2019, the SFS / SCS of Ukraine attended the second high-level meeting organized in Kyiv to discussing progress as well as challenges, actual needs and initiatives related to combatting illicit trafficking in WAE in all its aspects in Ukraine and across its borders. The SCS reiterated again its interest to receive technical assistance and its commitment to strengthen action against illicit WAE trafficking.

By mid-September 2019, the SCS of Ukraine requested the OSCE PCU to assist in practical implementation of the project work in order to “Support the SCS of Ukraine in preventing and combating illicit trafficking in WAE”.


There’s a presence of significant risks related to illicit WAE in Ukraine, namely: 

  • illicit WAE trade and proliferation in and across Ukraine’s borders;
  • illegal diversion of WAE;
  • use of illicit/smuggled WAE in criminal activities and violent misuse;
  • loss and theft of WAE from official storage sites and caches (and, thereby, their illicit proliferation);
  • low accountability and transparency in dealing with WAE.

The SCS of Ukraine is mandated to prevent and counteract smuggling and to fight against violations of customs regulations at the points of passage through state border of Ukraine, in the territories of sea and river ports, airports, at railway stations and other places determined by the Customs Code of Ukraine. This includes measures to prevent and counteract illicit trafficking of WAE.

In executing these measures, the SCS of Ukraine cooperates with other relevant national authorities such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine and the central executive authorities. Moreover, the SFS / SCS of Ukraine is also authorized to interact, cooperate and maintain operative contacts with the relevant authorities of adjoining and other states, as well as international organizations in implementing (joint) measures aimed at preventing, detecting and stopping smuggling and violating customs rules.

The OSCE accepted normative documents, including best practices handbooks, to support combating illicit trafficking of WAE in all its aspects. In aiding the SCS of UA, the OSCE will apply a comprehensive approach in countering illicit trafficking of WAE as elaborated above.

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