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Ukraine has received less than 15% of its requested demining and engineering equipment from the West, the Washington Post reports, citing a senior Ukrainian official who spoke on conditions of anonymity. Both President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov have called on the Western allies for procuring more mine-clearing systems.
Areas between 5 and 16 kilometers deep have been densely mined with antitank and antipersonnel mines and trip wires in front of Russian forces’ main strongholds.
These defenses have been successful in slowing the Ukrainian advance, according to Ukrainian military. At least 200,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian land had been mined by Russian forces as of June.
As a result of constant strikes by missiles or artillery, Ukrainian forces employ sapper units to manually clear paths through minefields. Moving on foot poses logistical challenges, including resupplying ammunition and evacuating wounded.
In an interview with the Washington Post, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said that newly arrived Western tanks have vulnerabilities because they alone are unable to breach Russian defenses bolstered by antitank and antipersonnel mines.
"We need special equipment, we need special remote mine-clearance equipment,” Zaluzhny said, adding that Ukraine is using U.S.-provided M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC) systems. Referrring to the high ratre of attrition of the equipment, he explained, “they are also being destroyed, yes. There’s nothing wrong with that. It takes a lot of them."