The United States announces $89 million worth of assistance to help Ukraine clear landmines.
The funding will provide support for 100 teams to clear landmines and equip Ukrainians to do this important task. “By our estimates, 160,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian land need demining, which is about the size of Virginia, Maryland and Connecticut combined,” Andriy Yermak, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top aide said.
The US State Department said in a statement, “Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine has littered massive swaths of the country with land mines, unexploded ordnance, and improvised explosive devices.”
“These explosive hazards block access to fertile farmland, delay reconstruction efforts, prevent displaced communities from returning to their homes, and continue to kill and maim innocent Ukrainian civilians,” the ministry added.
The Russians left a large number of landmines and other explosive devices behind when they were forced to withdraw from northern Ukraine after the failure of the initial thrust of the invasion to seize Kyiv.
Since late March Kyiv has defused around 160,000 mines, but some 5 million Ukrainians still live in areas threatened by bombs planted by the Russians, according to the State Department.