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Nearly half of Ukraine's territory needs to be cleared of mines – State Emergency Service

Monday, 11 April 2022, 16:02
Nearly half of Ukraine's territory needs to be cleared of mines – State Emergency Service


About 300,000 square kilometres of Ukraine's territory is in need of humanitarian mine clearance due to the large amount of munitions left behind by Russian forces.

Source: Oleh Bondar, Head of the department responsible for organising unexploded ordnance clearance works and humanitarian mine clearance at the State Emergency Service, at a briefing on 11 April, quoted by Interfax-Ukraine


According to Bondar: "As of today, we have conducted a preliminary analysis of the areas where a set of humanitarian mine clearance measures should be carried out... According to our initial estimates, this is about 300,000 square kilometres – almost half of our country's territory.

An average of 2,000 to 6,000 explosive devices are removed and deactivated daily."

Details: According to Bondar, the main efforts on the demining of territories are currently concentrated on the Irpin-Buchan, Chernihiv-Brovar, Nizhyn, and Trostyanets fronts.

The representative of the State Emergency Service stressed that despite incessant shelling, unexploded ordnance specialists are working in the Kharkiv and Mykolayiv regions on a daily basis.

Responding to a question about how soon residents of the Kyiv region can return home after mines have been cleared from the areas, the head of the department said: "We have cleared Irpin. But there are households where the owners were not present. We as a rescue service have no right to enter private property. That is why we leave a notice: if a person returns home, they call us, we take a closer look, and then we let them back into the house".

Bondar added: "But the main decision on whether people can return home is a matter for the local authorities."

The State Emergency Service spokesman also noted that Ukrainian bomb disposal technicians are highly qualified and work with modern Iskander-type munitions, and munitions used in aviation, such as surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles.

Quote: "Multiple-launch rocket systems with cluster elements have been used... from the Iskander system, which, when fired, scatter over large areas and have elements ready for combat. Our specialists destroy such munitions directly at the place where they are identified, that is to say, these are the munitions that cannot be moved, transported, or deactivated in any way other than by physical explosion."

Details: Bondar stressed that Russian invaders use anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, and in the Kharkiv Region they [the State Emergency Service] use remote minesweeping systems.

He also stressed that due to the large-scale planting of mines by Russians, a very large area of fields in Ukraine cannot yet be used for agricultural purposes.

"But we will do everything we can to enable our farmers to start sowing as soon as possible," he pledged.