Approximately 174,000 square kilometers, or nearly 30% of Ukraine’s territory, are contaminated with explosives and require demining. visited a briefing at the Military Media Center on the demining of Ukraine.
These territories need to be cleared of mines and other explosives. The contaminated territory includes around 13,500 square kilometers of freshwater bodies and offshore areas of the Black and Azov seas.
What has the State Emergency Service already done since February 24, 2022?
Ukraine’s territory is contaminated with:
- cluster munitions
- munitions banned by international conventions;
- improvised explosive devices made by the invaders.
Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the State Emergency Service has conducted more than 68,000 operations and neutralized 427,000 explosive devices. More than 93,000 hectares (930 square kilometers) have been inspected.
The largest number of explosive technicians are working in the Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Mykolaiv regions.
So far, no province that was liberated from occupation has been completely cleared of mines
"Let's say the Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions: the nature of mining was completely different here as shelling wasn't so intensive, so there are areas and settlements that are already safe. But large areas still need to be surveyed," says Mykola Didyk.
Of course, he notes, the situation in the Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Donetsk regions is completely different because hostilities are ongoing there. And the main focus of the State Emergency Service is currently on settlements and infrastructure, followed by agricultural land.
The main obstacles to demining
"Especially the issue related to the equipment that helps speed up the missions and increases safety. For example, mechanized demining machines. These are not yet produced in Ukraine, so we use only Western-made models provided to us. As for personnel, we have increased the number of our demining specialists," says Mr. Mykola.
Moreover, he says, many non-governmental organizations have volunteered to engage in de-mining and are currently undergoing certification. Some of them are already working.
How long will it take to de-mine Ukraine after the war?
"Munitions from World War II and World War I are still being found and will continue to be found. I believe that we will still feel the echoes of our war for many years," Mykola Didyk says.
Of course, de-mining technologies have improved over the years, but Mr. Mykola notes that everything will depend on the intensity of hostilities and the duration of the war. Potentially, it may take decades to clear the whole of Ukraine of mines.
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