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Economy Ministry launches accelerator for demining startups

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 27, 2023 10:59 PM 2 min read
A sapper defuses an anti-tank mine as a consolidated squad of the Explosives Service of Ukraine carries out demining work in Kharkiv Oblast on Oct. 24, 2023. (Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Ukraine has launched an accelerator program in cooperation with the Kyiv School of Economics for startup companies that focus on humanitarian demining, the Economy Ministry announced on Nov. 27.

The accelerator provides startups with business development skills, mentoring from industry experts, and the ability to test technologies at a training ground, allowing entrepreneurs to attract investment and grow their company in the field of humanitarian demining.

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has made the country one of the most heavily mined nations in the world.

The scale of the issue of mines in Ukraine is "unprecedented," Economy Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko said.

Nearly one-third of Ukraine's territory has been mined since the start of the full-scale invasion, and around 6 million people are threatened by mines, according to government estimates.

"We have an ambitious goal to return up to 80% of these lands to economic use over the next 10 years," Svyrydenko said.

"I believe that the technologies developed in Ukraine will not only help to clear the territory of our country faster, but will also become an export product in the future."

Tymofiy Mylovanov, the President of the Kyiv School of Economics, said that demining is an issue that Ukraine needs to solve as quickly as possible, with as much innovation as possible.

"Ideally, we need to reach a level where robots, not people, will work in areas with a high risk of explosions," Mylovanov said.

"The development of a high-tech society will determine Ukraine's recovery," he said.

The Economy Ministry is not the only ministry concerned with demining.

Ukraine's Education Ministry announced in August that it would introduce mine safety courses for Ukrainian schoolchildren as a mandatory part of the curriculum.

Landmines and other explosive devices in Ukraine have killed over 260 civilians, including 14 children, since February 2022.

First Ukrainian demining machine developed in Kharkiv
Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov said the equipment was “significantly cheaper than foreign counterparts,” but no less efficient. The machine is reportedly capable of defusing 95% of mines.

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