Head of Mission Visits Poltava to Strengthen Regional Ties

May 23, 2024

On 21-22 May, the Head of the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine, Rolf Holmboe, visited Poltava to explore options for enhancing the Mission’s operations in the region. This visit follows EUAM Ukraine’s April announcement of an expanded geographic presence, including the operation of an EUAM Mobile Unit from Poltava. The city serves as a crucial hub for supporting Ukrainian partners in liberated and adjacent territories under the Mission’s new and strengthened mandate from 1 June.

In the meeting with Philip Pronin, Governor of Poltava Region, Rolf Holmboe emphasised Poltava’s strategic importance. “Poltava Oblast is an important region with a great potential. We are currently exploring how to best support regional partners and promote cross-regional cooperation involving law enforcement and rule of law agencies as well as local authorities, especially regarding the reform of the civilian security sector and addressing wartime challenges. Poltava is also an important hub for us to reach our partners in the neighbouring regions that are close to the frontline and are in dire need of our support,” he mentioned. The parties explored areas of cooperation and the implementation of joint projects aimed at strengthening the civilian security sector. “We discussed what issues we can cooperate on, what assistance the Mission can provide at the regional level, in particular for our region. What steps need to be taken in the context of reforming and harmonising Ukrainian and EU legislation in this area,” said Pronin.

Another key area of focus was the Mission’s support in the investigation and prosecution of international crimes. This was a primary topic during the Head of Mission’s meeting with the Head of the Poltava Region Prosecutor’s Office, Yevhen Hladiy. They discussed the challenges of prosecuting international crimes and the rising threat of cybercrimes. Rolf Holmboe praised the resilience and efficiency of the prosecutors’ work under challenging conditions while handling numerous international crimes cases. He assured continued support for the prosecution’s efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. The regional prosecutor’s office appreciated EUAM’s ongoing support and highlighted the need for specialised experts to tackle these modern-day challenges.

Potential Mission support within its new mandate was also a topic during EUAM Head meeting with the Head of the State Research Expert Forensic Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Serhii Krymchuk, and his deputy, Kostiantyn Dubonos. This meeting preceded a roundtable organised by EUAM on 22-23 May for forensic experts from all over Ukraine. This roundtable served as a hub of intellectual exchange on methods, challenges, and needs in the forensic support to investigations of not least war crimes. Experts from Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Luhansk, Poltava, Sumy, and Zaporizhzhia discussed advancements in DNA investigations, shared challenges, and planned future cooperation. The meeting buzzed with discussions on training needs, equipment donations, and strategies to tackle international crimes.

At the National University «Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic», Rolf Holmboe delivered a presentation on the EU and EUAM as part of the Europe Day campaign led by the EU Delegation in Ukraine. The students were keenly interested in the EU and the opportunities accession might offer Ukraine. Holmboe encouraged the students to learn English and stressed that eradicating corruption and establishing a transparent judicial system would significantly help Ukraine attract investments and foster economic growth.

Another highlight was Holmboe’s opening of the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) training for trainers from National Police. The atmosphere was a blend of urgency and encouragement as the Head of Mission addressed the participants, highlighting the critical nature of their training. “These skills are vital as the enemy often targets first responders. Correct and timely application can save many lives,” he emphasised, inspiring the trainees.

Rolf Holmboe’s visit to Poltava underscored Mission’s commitment to supporting Ukraine at both national and regional levels, reinforcing the EUAM’s dedication to fostering cooperation and strengthening the civilian security sector across the country.