: Wall Street Journal: Lure of amber pits. Ukraine's illegal miners against state

13:48 Jun. 4, 2016

Wall Street Journal: Lure of amber pits. Ukraine's illegal miners against state

Photo by Schellhorn/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Despite a ban on mining, an illegal trade in amber is flourishing

A simmering conflict over amber mining, the economic lifeblood on Ukraine's northwestern flank, boiled over into an armed skirmish here one recent afternoon.

At the end of March, police officers loosed a few rounds from automatic rifles in a standoff with hundreds of illegal miners. The miners fought back with a hailstorm of rocks.

"The resources belong to the people, not the cops, oligarchs and politicians," said Oleksandr Vasilyev, a 42-year-old regional lawmaker and amber miner.

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