After Russia’s withdrawal, Canada funded group to clear Ukrainian mines – National

A small yellow stake in the middle of a vast field on the outskirts of Kyiv looks harmless, but it is not. His three explosions rocked the field, including a fatal one that destroyed a military vehicle.

Each stake marks where anti-tank mines were discovered by mine clearance teams. Russian forces reached the village of Peremokha, about an hour’s drive east of downtown Kyiv, and withdrew on 30 March, leaving anti-tank and anti-personnel mines behind.

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Explosive devices served a defensive purpose, but also prevented the use and occupation of mined land. It is estimated that there are millions of landmines in Ukraine.

The HALO Trust, a non-governmental organization funded by the Canadian government of $2 million, is working to clear landmines meter by meter in Peremokha, as well as in Chernihiv and other areas devastated by Russian aggression. is.

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On a cold, clear morning, the supervisor walks a precise demined route. The different colored stakes mark the zone marking the length of the trenches the Russians dug on the outskirts of the village behind the service station.

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All work is done by hand and on foot. An initial check is made to see if there are signs of a small concealed anti-personnel mine ready to be triggered by a tripwire. They are cleared before starting work on “decontamination” to remove anti-tank mines.

To detect anti-tank mines, the team uses a device that resembles a large rectangular frame surrounded by cables connected to metal detectors. Two people are required to get the frame to cover the correct area on the ground. When the alarm goes off, the spot is investigated with another, more accurate detector.

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“In the current situation, (demining) is probably the most in-demand job in Ukraine,” said Danilo Kudryavtsev, one of the team leaders who worked at a glass manufacturing company before the war. “You have to be psychologically well prepared and in good physical shape to do this job. You have to be very responsible.”

If anti-tank mines are detected, they should be carefully excavated. At that point, the Army or other authorities take over the job of detonating or disarming mines. Because that work is not left to NGOs like the HALO Trust.

98% of the HALO Trust staff in Ukraine are local residents, providing jobs to over 600 people in a country where war has resulted in high unemployment.

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The organization has perfected its method of identifying minefields using open source information and testimonials from citizens. However, the number of minefields is very high, especially around Kharkov, a large eastern city recently liberated by Ukrainian forces.

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There are mines everywhere where battles have been fought or where battles are going on. Accidents are frequent and sometimes involve children who are intrigued by metal devices.

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HALO has held 630 events to date to raise public awareness, but it’s still not enough.

“Such minefields can greatly affect the lives of civilians working in the fields, those who have just gone to another village, those who are going to forage, or those who are going for a walk with their children. It makes an impact,” he said. Halo spokeswoman Olesya Fesenko. “Such a threat affects the life of every Ukrainian.”

If someone finds a mine in their yard, they can call the Ukrainian emergency services to intervene. But in order to comb through a wide area, the HALO Trust has taken over a thinly stretched Ukrainian state machine.

Cleared at a rate of hundreds of square meters per day, the HALO Trust will work for years to come.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

After Russia’s withdrawal, Canada funded group to clear Ukrainian mines – National

Source link After Russia’s withdrawal, Canada funded group to clear Ukrainian mines – National

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