Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Europol keeps criminals away from borders 

In view of protecting the European Union and Ukrainian refugees from criminal threats, Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, has deployed operational teams to the frontline European countries neighboring Ukraine within the framework of the Agency’s response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

Coming at the request of these countries, Europol now has operational teams in Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Moldova, with an upcoming deployment planned to Hungary. 

These teams, comprised Europol specialists and guest officers, support the national authorities with secondary security checks and investigations at the European external borders to identify criminals and terrorists trying to enter the EU in the refugee flow and exploit the situation. These operational teams are also gathering information in the field, which is used to develop criminal threat assessments at the European level and to support investigations. 

These secondary security checks are an important tool to manage the large incoming influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine. Europol has already carried out such a service at the request of EU Member States in the migration hotspots in the Mediterranean as of 2016. 

This complements Europol’s active engagement with Ukrainian law enforcement through the Ukrainian liaison officer present at Europol’s headquarters in the Netherlands. 

All this intelligence gathering activity is allowing Europol to anticipate developments and coordinate operational activities with EU Member States to respond to the activities of criminal groups seeking to take advantage the war in Ukraine.

Photo credit: iStock/ Nzpn

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