WASHINGTON— The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following briefing:
A PRE-REQUISITE FOR RECOVERY
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Russia’s invading forces have left more than a quarter of Ukraine’s territory contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordinance (UXO), including areas in the Donbas that had already been riddled with mines since 2014. Humanitarian demining will be integral to recovery and reconstruction efforts across Ukraine. As Ukrainian forces liberate territory in the east and south, landmines and UXO pose an enormous challenge. In one day, Government of Ukraine explosive ordnance disposal teams removed nearly 1,500 explosive items including mines from the Kherson region alone. Russian forces have also planted victim-activated booby-traps as they retreated from positions taken during the initial phase of the invasion. Agricultural production is further affected by the use of landmines in fields and on rural roads as well as UXO, making an estimated ten percent of Ukraine’s farmland unserviceable.
This briefing will explore the scope of landmine and UXO contamination in Ukraine as well as United States and international efforts to assist with humanitarian demining. The Department of State has allocated $91.5 million to help train and equip Ukrainians to conduct demining operations and to deploy U.S.-funded contractor and NGO demining teams. Addressing this problem will take years, if not decades, but Ukraine and the international community must start now – reclaiming its territory from mines and UXO is not only a pre-requisite for Ukraine’s recovery and post-war reconstruction, but will also save untold numbers of civilian lives.
The following panelists are scheduled to participate:
- Michael Tirre, Program Manager for Europe, State Department – Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA)
- Todd Biggs, Vice President for Munitions Response, Tetra Tech
- Tony Connell, Ukraine Country Director, Swiss Foundation for De-mining (FSD)