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Published on September 6, 2018
Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has passed bill No. 5495 about preserving Ukrainian forests and preventing illegal imports of rough timber with remarks of the Ukrainian president. The bill introduces severe punishment for smuggling of round timber and restricting domestic consumption of rough timber to 25 million cubic meters a year. A total of 246 lawmakers backed the bill with the president’s remarks, removing the clause about firewood export ban.
Head of the parliamentary committee for industrial policy and entrepreneurship Viktor Halasiuk said that the parliament must return to the issue and find a possibility of retaining the ban on exports of firewood, under the disguise of which round timber is exported from Ukraine.
As was earlier reported, on July 3, 234 deputies passed the bill (No. 5495) on making amendments to some laws of Ukraine concerning the preservation of Ukrainian forests and preventing the illegal export of unprocessed timber at second reading.
According to amendments taken into account in the second reading of the document, administrative and criminal liability for illegal logging and its timber exports outside customs control (smuggling) has been significantly strengthened.
The Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses, in particular, introduces a clause according to which illegal cutting and transportation, storage of illegally cut trees entail the imposition on citizens of a fine of 15 to 30 nontaxable minimum incomes of citizens (one nontaxable minimum – UAH 17), and on officials – from 75 to 150 nontaxable minimum incomes of citizens.
In case of a repeated offense within a year, the amount of the fine is from 30 to 60 nontaxable minimums for citizens and from 300 to 600 for officials.
In addition, according to changes in Ukraine’s Criminal Code, movement across the customs border of Ukraine outside the customs control or concealment from the uncontrolled control of unprocessed timber or sawn valuable or rare species is punishable by imprisonment for three to five years.
The same actions that have been committed repeatedly or by prior conspiracy by a group of persons or an official using his official position are punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to ten years, with deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions and with confiscation of property.
If these actions are committed by an organized group of individuals or on a particularly large scale, a penalty of imprisonment of ten to 12 years is provided, with deprivation of the right to engage in certain activities for three years and with confiscation of property.
Late July Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vetoed the bill and returned it to the parliament with his proposals.