Interior Ministry says 5-7 years required to clear Ukraine's territory

In Ukraine, 300,000 square meters of territory needs to be cleared of mines, and it will take approximately five to seven years to clear the territory.

This was stated by Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Mary Hakobyan on Friday during the first meeting of the International Coordination Center for Humanitarian Demining established in Ukraine.

She said that from the first day of Russia's war on the territory of Ukraine, units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have been taking measures to identify explosive objects and neutralize them. According to the Deputy Interior Minister, after one day of hostilities, 30 days are required to clear the territories.

"Today is the 86th day… the war is still going on and we have 300,000 square meters that need to be cleared. Tentatively, we are talking about the fact that we need five to seven years to clear mines," she said.

In this context, Hakobyan said Ukraine understands all the threats and challenges and is working with the international community and partners in order to make the process of clearing the territory of Ukraine more effective. According to her, negotiations are underway both in bilateral and multilateral formats, the need to deploy a mine action mission in Ukraine is obvious.

She said the tasks of the international coordination center for humanitarian demining would be to coordinate and plan all activities, control the state of contamination of sites.

According to her, the coordinating center includes representatives of all departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as international organizations: the UN Development Program, the International Committee of the Red Cross, OSCE project coordinators. The symbol of demining the dog Patron, already known in Ukraine and abroad, has become the logo of the coordination center.

Deputy Head of the President's Office Ihor Zhovkva said humanitarian demining is a very important mission and Ukraine cannot achieve success in this without the help of international partners. He said that in the course of negotiations with foreign leaders, the president always noted the importance of the issue of humanitarian demining.

"Some countries are already responding and supporting us," he said, noting that they are France, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and other countries.

Deputy Head of the State Emergency Service Dmytro Bondar said that out of 300,000 square meters of territories that need mine clearance, some 19,000 are water areas of reservoirs, rivers, and seas.

He said that after the de-occupation of a number of regions of Ukraine, an algorithm for demining the territory was developed, and daily the units of the State Emergency Service neutralize about 5,000 explosive objects.

The heads of the regional military administrations of the liberated territories took part in the founding meeting of the coordination center online.

According to Head of Sumy Regional Military Administration Dmytro Zhyvytsky, after the de-occupation, three people killed in the region and more than ten were wounded from explosions.

Head of Chernihiv Regional Military Administration Viacheslav Chaus said the creation of such a center is extremely important and the priorities in the process of clearing the territory should be critical infrastructure facilities, as well as fields for sowing.

The representative of the UN Development Program, in turn, said the work of the coordination center will be the beginning of a larger program to cleanse the territory of Ukraine, which will help Ukrainians return home and return to normal life.

Among the main areas of support from UNDP, he named training in the field of mine action, provision of equipment and machinery, interaction with mine clearance centers.

In turn, the deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs explained that international organizations can join the activities of the coordination center.

"The platform is open to any new participants... each of the participants must be certified," she said.