This is unprecedented... Ukraine will need 757 years...
The conflict with Russia has turned Ukraine into the "most mined country" in the world, writes the "Washington Post", citing data from the Ukrainian government.Source: RT.rs
Nearly one-third of Ukraine's territory has been affected by heavy fighting and is likely to require intensive demining operations, the paper said, adding that more than 67,000 square miles (173,529 square kilometers) are contaminated with unexploded ordnance, according to Slovakia-based research center GLOBSEC.
That's more than the size of Florida and roughly equivalent to Uruguay.
"The amount of lethal means in Ukraine is unprecedented in the past 30 years," said Director of Programmes at Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Greg Crowther.
According to the UN, nearly 300 civilians, including 22 children, died in Ukraine in incidents involving unexploded ordnance between February 2022 and July 2023, The Washington Post reported. Landmines and other unexploded ordnance also resulted in 632 civilian injuries during the same period, it added.
Both sides in the conflict are actively using mines in their operations, the newspaper said. The US has also contributed to the mining of Ukrainian territory by supplying Kyiv with 155mm artillery shells that create temporary minefields, although their submunitions are technically supposed to self-destruct, the Washington Post writes.
Another US-made weapon sent to Ukraine was the M21 anti-tank mine, which does not self-destruct, it added. Washington's decision to provide Kyiv with "US-made cluster munitions, which are known to disperse unexploded projectiles, can only increase the danger," according to the Washington Post.
According to some estimates, it could take 757 years to remove all the unexploded ordnance scattered across the country, even if 500 demining teams were tasked with the mission, the Washington Post reported.
World Bank estimates show that the costs of these operations could reach $37.4 billion in just the next ten years, it added. So far, Washington has committed only about $95 million to demining operations in Ukraine, according to the State Department's 2023 report.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo warned the UN Security Council that vast parts of Ukrainian territory are covered with mines and cluster bombs that "will continue to pose a danger to civilians for years to come."
Earlier this week, Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, condemned Washington for turning Ukraine into a "graveyard" of deadly waste.