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Polish police conducts secret operation in Ukraine, clearing mines in Kyiv Oblast for five months

Thursday, 23 February 2023, 08:00
Polish police conducts secret operation in Ukraine, clearing mines in Kyiv Oblast for five months

98 Polish policemen participated in a top secret mission in Ukraine for five months, clearing mines on the liberated territories. 

Source: Wirtualna Polska news outlet, reported by European Pravda

Details: Wirtualna Polska has stated that they have known about a secret mission of the Polish police in Ukraine for several months already. However, in order to ensure the security of its participants, they did not reveal this information until they received an official confirmation from the National Police Headquarters that all Polish policemen crossed the border and were safe in Poland. 

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The mission started after Ukrainians addressed ATLAS group members last year; it is a police operative group that unites special counterintelligence units of the European Union. 

The request was to send bomb disposal experts in order to clear mines in Ukraine. Ukrainians referred to the territories where Russian forces were banished from and where it was impossible to go back, as the territories were heavily mined or were otherwise dangerous because of other remnants of combat actions. 

Wirtualna Polska has stated that the Ukrainian army does not have enough sappers in order to carry out this task quickly. Military sappers from NATO countries cannot do it as well, as it would have been considered as a provocation by Russia. Therefore, it was possible to send only police bomb disposal experts. 

Out of all ATLAS group member states, only Poland responded to Ukraine’s request. Other states believed such a mission in the warring country was too dangerous. 

In summer 2022, Ukraine's Minister of Interior and the government signed a decision on creating the Humanitarian Police Contingent that consists of specialists of separate anti-terrorist police units. Only those who volunteered went to Ukraine. 

There were bomb disposal experts, medics and members of combat groups whose task was to defend the Polish group. Policemen also took two dogs with them to search for explosives. 

At first, the mission had to last three months. However, it was prolonged for two more months in December 2022. The Polish policemen operated in Kyiv Oblast. One of the first tasks they had was to clear mines on the premises of an airport near Kyiv. 

The Poles collected about 2,000 of explosives in total. Moreover, they cleared anti-tank and land mines on roads and fields. No Polish policeman was wounded or hurt during those five months of work. 

In recent weeks, the National Police Headquarters decided to stop the mission. Intelligence information about Russia’s planned offensive affected it, too. On Wednesday, 22 February 2023, all members of this group successfully went back to Poland. 

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