Ukraine is an Eastern European republic, a former socialist Soviet republic bordered by Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. One of the healthier economies to recover from the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it was badly hurt by the worldwide financial meltdown of 2008. Like much of Eastern Europe, Ukraine has experienced significant problems with drug abuse and drug trafficking since the fall of the Soviet Union, when drug cartels moved in to take advantage of previously unavailable markets amid the social chaos.

The rise of Eastern European crime syndicates during that same period, and Ukraine's porous borders and understaffed law enforcement and antinarcotics agencies, turned Ukraine into a major transit point for heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan, bound for Europe or Russia. Russia ...

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