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US announces $89 million package to help Ukraine clear Russian landmines

The United States will provide $89 million to help remove Russian landmines, improvised explosive devices, and unexploded ordnance as part of the Kremlin's five-and-a-half-month operation. says. Invasion of Ukraine.

An aid package announced by the State Department on Tuesday will remove about 100 landmines over the next year to address what officials describe as a massive problem afflicting at least 160,000 people. Help fund, train, and equip your elimination team. Square kilometers of Ukrainian territory, including his 10% of Ukrainian agricultural land.

"This is a challenge Ukraine has faced for decades," an official told reporters on Tuesday, requesting anonymity under ground rules set by the State Department.

Officials also likened Russia's use of mines and explosives to scorched-earth tactics used by terrorist groups like the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

"This horrific use of improvised explosive devices by the Russian military is reminiscent of ISIS tactics in Iraq and Syria where ISIS terrorists sought to inflict as many civilian casualties as possible& It made people afraid to go home.”

“When Russian troops withdrew from northern Ukraine, they used food facilities, car trunks, washing machines, doorways, hospital beds, and even , even the bodies of those killed by the Russian military were equipped with booby traps and improvised explosive devices: aggression," the official said. "The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said the Russian military deliberately hid explosives in toys and shiny objects that would attract children's attention."

FILE - A sign that reads "Mines" placed on a road where unexploded devices were found after shelling of Russian forces in Maksymilyanivka, Ukraine, May 10, 2022.
File - Russian military forces in Maksimlyanivka, Ukraine, on May 10, 2022, in Maksimlyanivka, Ukraine, on a road sign that says 'Mine' An unexploded device was found after the

Also from a series of complementary funding bills passed by Congress earlier this year.

This funding will not go directly to the Ukrainian government, but will be paid over time to non-governmental organizations, contractors and other demining professionals to work with existing Ukrainian demining teams. It will be.

"While we have announced our intention to provide this assistance as soon as possible, it will take some time as the training process is iterative," said a senior State Department official.

Details of the exercise, including the exact location, have not yet been clarified, and US officials are also in contact with allies to provide additional assistance.

A mine detection worker with the HALO Trust de-mining NGO searches for anti-tank and anti personnel land mines in Lypivka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, June 14, 2022.
Mine detectors from the HALO Trust Mine Clearance NGO }

Human Rights Watch reports } In June, the State Department quoted Russia detonating seven types of antipersonnel landmines in Ukraine.

Anti-personnel mines caused by proximity or contact with a person are prohibited under the 1997 Ottawa Convention.

Neither the United States nor Russia have signed the treaty. However, US President Joe Biden announced last month that the US would limit the use of landmines and would only use them to defend South Korea from North Korea. did.

As part of a previous security assistance package to Ukraine, the United States provided Claymore anti-personnel munitions. However, U.S. officials say the claymore in question is configured to be consistent with the rules laid down by the Ottawa Treaty.

It has expressed hope that the assistance will strengthen Ukraine's existing demining efforts.

The State Department said Ukrainian teams had already cleared about 160,000 unexploded mines, ordinances and other devices.

And as new teams are trained, equipped and deployed, it is hoped that Ukraine and the United States will also become better acquainted with Russia's strategy.

"There isn't a lot of synthetic data on what the pattern looks like, or specifically how the mines were laid," a State Department official said when asked by his VOA. said in response to

"It's hard to say at this point. In fact, what was the logic behind what they have been doing and are continuing to do," the official added. “From what we see, they [mines] are widely used in civilian areas. .”