The van was carrying 8,826 cartons of cigarettes; 16 kilograms of gold; and large sums of cash including 140,000 dollars; 67,200 euros; and 11,600 Polish zloty.

A group of five people coordinated the smuggling scheme. Both current and former employees of the Embassy teamed up with a military official serving at Zakarpattia Oblast bordering Poland to arrange the smuggling operation.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba posted information about the incident on Facebook on March 1 stating, “During my tenure as minister, we will not stay silent about such shameful cases, nor will we cover up for those involved.”

Kuleba recalled both employees from the embassy but has not yet fired them. The ministry has launched a disciplinary inquiry, separate from the police’s own investigation. 

“Corruption is everywhere where people are,” Kuleba said. “The only difference is whether you tolerate it or not. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we do not.”