Aug 4, 2023
The end of the Russia-Ukraine war is still not in sight. But human rights groups worry that the danger of the conflict’s stray weapons will last long past the war’s final shots. The reason: Things like mines scattered across Ukraine. They cover an area about the size of Florida.
In the near term, the planting of mines by Russian troops has booby-trapped big areas of land. These are areas that the Ukraine army is trying to take back. Ukraine is now the most mined country in the world. Unexploded bombs and artillery shells litter war zones across its east and south.
More than 67,000 square miles of Ukraine has severe damage and will need clearance operations. That's 30% of the country. This is according to a report by GLOBSEC, a think tank in Slovakia. The clearance work will be expensive, dangerous, and take lots of time.
"The sheer quantity of ordnance in Ukraine is just unprecedented in the last 30 years. There's nothing like it,” Greg Crowther told The Washington Post. He's the director of programs for the Mines Advisory Group. It's a nongovernmental organization.
De-miners are people trained to find and defuse explosives. They are working throughout the country to lower the danger to humans. But their work is not a perfect science. They often get bad injuries, like loss of limbs. Some have died doing their work.
Mines are not the only type of explosive that threaten soldiers and civilians, the Post reported. Mortars, bombs, artillery shells, cluster munitions, and others also become leftover hazards if they do not explode when sent out. And more of these things are being sent into the battle every day.
Photo from Reuters.
Reflect: Beyond the physical danger, how do you think leftover explosives and landmines after a war can affect the safety and well-being of people living in the affected areas?
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