Kiev, Ukraine. The recent land mine blast that destroyed an OSCE vehicle and killed it’s American observer, underscores the costs of the Kiev regimes indiscriminate use of land mines, a violation of international law. But if experts are right, a real pay off for Kiev awaits inside the silver lining of Kiev’s landmine cloud.
Ukraine will need 10 to 15 years to clear the landmines that had been planted during the conflict in eastern Donbass regions, the Defense Ministry said Friday in Kiev.
“The mine-contaminated area is now estimated at 700,000 acres. It will take between 10 and 15 years to clear it from the unexploded ordnance we planted there,” Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Maksym Prauta told a media briefing.
The conflict between the government and pro-independence fighters in the Donbass started in April 2014. So far only 3,000 hectares of land has been cleared of landmines, Prauta said. The land mines frequently claim victims in the war zone as they are not marked and accurate maps of mine fields do not exist.
Ukraine’s Army demining experts plan to clear another 1,000 acres by the end of 2017, he added.
During the three-year conflict Kiev calls an “anti-terrorist-operation”, more than 150 civilians, including 42 children, were killed and over 600 others wounded in landmine explosions in eastern Ukraine, western experts believe these numbers are low, as the Kiev administration has been openly caught altering casulty counts in the past.
Local Ukrainian government experts have estimated that the operation to completely clear the area of landmines would cost half a billion US dollars, they remain confident the American government and their EU partners with finance the removal, once hostilities cease.