Today, April 4, is commemorated as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
In 2022, this day for Ukraine we hold under relentless bomb attacks, artillery shelling against the background of other horrific crimes of the russian federation with the use of prohibited weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects, which increases the danger of mines in dozens of times.
After the full-scale russian invasion to Ukraine on 24th February, 2022, the problem of mines and explosive remnants of the war became particularly acute, although Russia has been continuously spreading them over Ukrainian land for the last 8 years.
After the first wave of russian armed aggression against Ukraine in 2014, about 16,000 square kilometers of Luhansk and Donetsk Regions were contaminated with mines and ERW. Today, according to preliminary estimates, contamination reaches 80,000 square kilometers of the territory of Ukraine.
The russian occupants relentlessly continue to bring death and maims to the Ukrainian soil. While the entire civilized world is abandoning and banning anti-personnel landmines, russia is increasing their use in Ukraine and even testing new types of anti-personnel mines such as POM-3 (Medallion) and others.
The russian federation is in war not only with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but also fights against the civilian population of Ukraine, grossly violating the Law of war. While retreating russia's military personnel is massively setting up booby-traps, banned by the international law, even on food facilities, private housing and human corpses.
The war crimes of the russian occupants are committed even against Ukrainian children. Invaders deliberately mine toys and shiny objects that kids can turn on their attention. That is how they want to kill our future.
Unfortunately, due to russia's full-scale war, much of the work already accomplished on the demining of the territories together with the international partners has been nullified. At the same time, the urgency of educational activities is growing. Mine risk education that ordinary Ukrainians, primarily children, have managed to receive since 2014 would save many more lives. We extend our gratitude to our partners from HALO Trust, DDG, FSD and other international organizations and look forward to their further assistance.
Right away, units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Emergency Service and other structures, risking their lives on a daily basis, carry out demining operations in the liberated territories. However, the main work will begin after the complete withdrawal of the russian troops from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, we urge Ukrainians to be as vigilant as possible, remembering the danger of mines in order to save their own lives - the highest value for our state.
We also call upon the world community to strengthen its support for Ukraine and to take all measures to bring Ukraine closer to victory over the russian invaders, which will stop the catastrophic increase in the number of victims of mines and explosive remnants of war in the heart of Europe.