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Guardian: Ukraine 'most heavily mined country in the world,' Defense Minister says

by Abbey Fenbert August 14, 2023 7:09 AM 2 min read
A Ukrainian sapper inspects the shoreline during the demining of a Dnipro river in Zaporizhzhia on Aug. 3, 2023. (Photo by Andriy Andriyenko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Ukraine has become the world's most heavily mined nation, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the Guardian in an interview on Aug. 13.

Reznikov urged allies to speed up their efforts to aid Ukraine's demining project.

“Today, Ukraine is the most heavily mined country in the world," Reznikov said. "Hundreds of kilometres of minefields, millions of explosive devices, in some parts of the frontline up to five mines per square meter."

The concentration of mines in Russian-occupied regions has slowed Ukraine's counteroffensive, limiting territorial gains in the east and south.

At the July 15 Ramstein summit in Germany, Lithuania announced a plan to create a demining coalition for Ukraine. The coalition would help consolidate aid in the form of training and mine-clearing equipment.

Reznikov called this "an important step," but said more assistance is critical.

“It is also vitally necessary to expand and expedite the training of sappers. It should be fast and systematic. Sappers are needed here and now," Reznikov said.

Pete Smith, Ukraine program manager for the NGO Halo, which works to clear mines in conflict zones, told the Guardian that the density of minefields in Ukraine was "unrecognizable in modern history."

‘Every time feels like your last’: How Ukrainian sappers work in gray zones near Russian-occupied Kreminna
Donetsk Oblast – At an unusually nice house on a street with rows of modest cottages, Ukraine’s front-line sappers spend their days indoors waiting for their daunting nightly missions– venturing out into “gray zones” laying mines sometimes as close as 100 meters from the nearest Russian trench. “Th…

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