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Ukrainian de-mining teams cleared almost 44% of 'priority' fields for farmers in 2023

Photo by Ihor OINUA / Unsplash

Ukrainian mine clearance teams and surveyors have given farmers back 205,000 hectares (506,000 acres) of farmland this year that was deemed a priority for de-mining, Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said.

The total represents almost 44% of the 470,000 hectares of farmland that the government had marked as top priority for mine clearance so far this year, Svyrydenko said.

"“Our deminers – the units of the State Emergency Service, the State Special Transport Service, and non-governmental mine action operators – are showing very good results," she said. "Even now, in winter, when the weather is not conducive to work in the fields, to put it mildly, 3,000 to 5,000 hectares of agricultural land are surveyed every week."

To be sure, the 470,000 hectares of farmland deemed top priority for mine clearance represents only a fraction of the area of land in Ukraine that needs de-mining.

The government has said the area to be de-mined covers 174,000 square kilometers, or a third of Ukraine. The mines, Svyrydenko said, pose a risk to 6 million people and have already killed 500 people and injured more than 1,000.

The World Bank estimated in March that de-mining Ukraine will cost $37.6 billion, including $10 billion in various surveys and more than $27 billion in actual mine clearance, and take 10 years.

At a donors' conference in Croatia in October, some 34 countries pledged a combined €500 million to help de-mine Ukraine, led by a €100 million donation from Switzerland.

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