EU provided equipment worth EUR 2 million to Ukrainian border guards for strengthening the joint border with Belarus

22 November 2016

The equipment and vehicles worth two million euros were officially presented in Zhytomyr to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. This technical assistance is a part of the SURCAP Phase 2 project, strengthening the capacity of border agencies of Ukraine and Belarus on protection of the joint border. The project is funded by the EU and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Before independence, the border between Belarus and Ukraine was an administrative boundary and is thus lacking typical border infrastructure. ‘Blue’ border sections (rivers and lakes) constitute over one-fifth of the whole length of the frontier. Dense forests also make it difficult to manage the border. “The modern equipment and vehicles purchased within this project will allow the North Regional Department of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine to ensure availability of mobile units at the Ukraine–Belarus border,” stated Lieutenant-General Vasyl Servatyuk, First Deputy Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.

"We need to secure borders, so that we can efficiently detect and fight smuggling and other illegal border crossings.  At the same time we have to make sure that legal crossing for people and goods is as smooth as possible,” stressed Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Ukraine. The European Union has been a major partner of Ukraine in this endeavour, with contributions to integrated border management exceeding 100 million euro, and today’s handover of equipment takes us one step further to our mutual goal of security, freedom and justice.”

“Over the 20 years of its work in Ukraine, IOM, together with the EU and other donors, has been providing assistance to the Ukrainian Government in developing a comprehensive migration and border management system,” said Manfred Profazi, IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission. “IOM helps to enhance the legal and regulatory framework, institutional setting, human resources management and training structures of the Ukrainian authorities working in this field, in particular, the State Migration Service and the State Border Guard Service, and contributes to the improvement of their infrastructure and equipment,” he added.

Equipment, handed over to the State Border Service of Ukraine within SURCAP Phase 2 project:

25 all-terrain vehicles Volkswagen Amarok Pickup Trendline; 6 minibuses Volkswagen T6 Kombi; 45 motorcycles Enduro PR4; 10 quadrocycles Outlander L Max 570 DPS; 30 thermal imaging binoculars Archer TGX-8/75-640; 4 sets of wireless detection system Defendec; 66 pairs of cross country skies Elan “Himalaya”.

Background: The second stage of the EU-funded regional project “Strengthening Surveillance and Bilateral Coordination Capacity Along the Common Border Between Belarus and Ukraine” started in April 2014. The total budget of the project is EUR 5.350 mln for two countries in equal proportions. The project is co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, IOM, and border agencies of Ukraine and Belarus. Till spring 2017, the project will increase the effectiveness of the protection of the state border between Ukraine and Belarus through the purchase of equipment, joint study visits to the EU, seminars on various aspects of integrated border management, and the establishment of a pilot contact point "Pinsk-Zhytomyr".