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Ukraine's government reaches agreement with Palantir to accelerate demining through AI

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 3, 2024 6:39 PM 2 min read
A warning sign that says "Danger! Mines!" placed near destroyed houses during a demining operation in the village of Hrakove, Kharkiv Oblast, on April 18, 2023. (Sergey Bobok/AFP via Getty Images)
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An agreement has been signed with U.S. tech company Palantir to employ artificial intelligence in Ukraine's humanitarian demining efforts, the Economy Ministry reported on March 3.

Over 270 Ukrainians, including 14 children, have been killed by mines and other explosives since the start of the full-scale invasion.

"Demining is the zero stage of Ukraine's recovery. Currently, 156,000 square kilometers of land are potentially contaminated, with over 6 million Ukrainians at risk," Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said at the signing of the agreement in London.

Since the start of the full-scale invasion, deminers have neutralized over 470,000 explosive objects and cleared more than 1,170 square kilometers of land, according to Serhii Reva, the head of the State Emergency Service’s humanitarian demining department.

However, clearing the land will be a massive and years-long undertaking.

The ability to accelerate the demining process, "particularly through cooperation with technological companies like Palantir, is an opportunity to save lives and expedite Ukraine's reconstruction," Svyrydenko said.

The agreement entails the digitalization of demining operations and automation of processes already outlined in Ukraine's National Mine Action Strategy through 2033, according to the Economy Ministry's press release.

It also involves the expansion of digital capabilities for assessing and prioritizing the risks in mined regions, as well as the utilization of a Palantir-provided artificial intelligence platform assistant for decision-making in demining efforts.

The platform will draw intel from local and regional governing bodies, as well as ministries, agencies, and the previous work of deminers.

Based on this data, the platform could advise deminers on the most effective measures to take when working in a specific area, such as whether they should use drones or more traditional demining methods.  

The main goal, according to the Economy Ministry, is to "demine territories faster and at lower costs."

Multiple countries have been assisting Ukraine with demining efforts and providing training and equipment.

The U.S. donated over one million dollars in demining equipment to Ukraine's State Special Transport Service in February.

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