The war has made Ukraine the largest minefield in the world
According to Denys Chmyhal, the Ukrainian Prime Minister, the war has led to the creation of a minefield which he estimates at 250,000 square kilometers on Ukrainian territory. “It is currently the largest minefield in the world. Not only does it make it difficult for people to travel, but it also causes major disruption in agriculture, which is one of our main industries”he explains to the agency of South Korean Yonhap press.
The mined areas represent an area larger than that of the Korean peninsula (about 221,000 km2) and the United Kingdom (about 244,000 km2).
On December 30, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace announced a donation of more than ” 1,000 Vallon metal detectors » and “one hundred bomb disarmament kits”or anti-explosion kits, for “Help clear minefields” and ensure the safety of “recovered territories, dwellings and infrastructures”.
On December 14, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the international community to help his country get rid of mines and other unexploded devices. ‘There is no real peace for any child who might die from a hidden Russian anti-personnel mine’he insisted, asking New Zealand, whose army is experienced in the matter, to supervise demining operations and limit the environmental consequences of the conflict.
According to Mr. Zelensky, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov are also infested with floating mines which have claimed lives “to hundreds of thousands of living creatures, dead because of hostilities”. He accused Russia of perpetrating a “ecocide” in his country.
Russia has used at least seven types of fragmentation and blast-effect anti-personnel mines since its invasion of Ukraine reveals the 2022 report of the Landmine Monitor (Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor), published in November 2022 [pp. 23-24 du rapport]. It’s a “unprecedented situation, in which a country which is not yet party to the treaty uses the weapon on the territory of a State party”according to this report, which measures the implementation of the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (or Ottawa Treaty).
The use by Russia – the country with the world’s largest stockpile of anti-personnel mines (26.5 million, according to Landmine Monitor) – of this type of weapon in Ukraine has been strongly condemned by various countries. Six of the mine types are fragmentation (MOB, MON-50, MON-100, OZM-72, POM-2/POM-2R and POM-3). Russia also uses blast mines (PMN-4). All were produced by Russia or the USSR, depending on the report.
The number of civilian victims of mines and other war explosives recorded in Ukraine during the first nine months of the year (277) is almost five times higher than the number of victims recorded in 2021 (58), according to the same report.
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