Ukraine has become the most mined country in the world

Within a year and a half of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the area of ​​minefields in this country has grown to the size of Uruguay or the state of Florida. Today, Ukraine is the world’s most mined country, according to The Washington Post, a problem even more serious than countries like Afghanistan and Syria.

Greg Crowther, director of programs at the Mines Advisory Group, a UK-based charity that clears mines around the world, called the situation in Ukraine the most serious in 30 years. More than 173,000 square kilometers in Ukraine require lengthy, costly and dangerous demining operations, according to a report by the Slovak Policy Institute Globsek. This area is about 30% of the country’s area.

From February 2022 to July 2023, the UN recorded 298 civilian mine casualties, including 22 children. Another 632 civilians were injured.

Russia has heavily mined its defenses in anticipation of a Ukrainian counter-offensive and is much more active in the use of widely banned anti-personnel mines. Research by Human Rights Watch found that Russian troops used at least 13 types of anti-personnel mines, including mines with a trigger mechanism activated by the victim. There is evidence that in the summer of 2022, Ukraine used at least one type of PFM (“Petal”) anti-personnel mines near the city of Izyum.

The mined area of ​​Ukraine is so vast that some experts estimate that humanitarian demining will take about 757 years at the current rate of work of about 500 demining teams. Globsack estimates that one minesweeper can only clear between 4.5 and 7.5 square meters of territory per day, depending on the terrain and the concentration of explosives. Parallel to the work of official teams, a market for the so-called “grey sappers” who offer hasty and often unreliable mine clearance.

According to the materials of the State Department, the United States has committed to transfer over $95 million to Ukraine for mine clearance. The World Bank estimates that demining Ukraine, which costs between $2 and $8 per square meter, will require $37.4 billion over the next 10 years.


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