15:11 12 Бер 2023

Mines in Ukraine cover an area the size of Great Britain – HALO Trust

The HALO Trust, a global mine-clearing organization, estimates that mines and explosives in Ukraine may have contaminated a territory the size of Britain.

Although the russian troops who once occupied many of the fields of southern Ukraine are long gone, they left a colossal array of explosives behind, some abandoned and others rigged as traps, the New York Times reports.

Ukrainian sappers must still survey and remove thousands of land mines before anyone can resume a normal life. The problem is particularly acute in the southern Kherson region.

The majority of liberated territory remains in a range of russian guns. The invaders shell them daily with cluster munitions, which can spread unexploded bomblets over a large area.

Since the start of the war, nearly 200 civilians have been killed in accidents involving mines, though this is likely to be a significant undercount, the open-source data collected by HALO states.

Oleksandr Hordiienko, a Kherson Regional Council deputy and chairman of the Kherson Regional Association of Farmers, said some farmers have, very carefully, begun to survey their own lands. Using a hand-held metal detector as well as a larger apparatus attached to a tractor, one has so far found 1,500 mines, though he thinks there could be hundreds more.

Many Ukrainian farmers believe russian forces targeted their fields and equipment to starve Ukrainians and ruin one of their country's most important economic drivers.

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