Explosive-contaminated areas in Ukraine may be the size of Britain - NYT

Explosive-contaminated areas in Ukraine may be the size of Britain - NYT

The HALO Trust, a global mine-clearing organization, estimates that mines and explosives in Ukraine may have contaminated a territory the size of Britain.

That's according to The New York Times, Ukrinform reports.

Although the Russian troops who once occupied many of the fields of southern Ukraine are long gone, they left a colossal array of explosives behind, some abandoned and others rigged as traps.

Ukrainian mine clearers known as sappers must still survey and remove thousands of land mines and unexploded ordnance before anyone can resume a normal life. The problem is particularly acute in the Kherson region.

In addition, large portions of liberated territory remain in range of Russian guns and are shelled daily, including with cluster munitions, which can spread unexploded bomblets over a large area.

According to open-source data collected by HALO, since the start of the war, nearly 200 civilians have been killed in accidents involving mines, though this is likely to be a significant undercount.

The news outlet spoke to Oleksandr Hordiienko, a Kherson Regional Council deputy and chairman of the Kherson Regional Association of Farmers, who said that some farmers have, very carefully, begun to survey their own lands. Using a hand-held metal detector as well as a larger apparatus attached to a tractor, he has so far found 1,500 mines, though he thinks there could be hundreds more.

Many Ukrainian farmers believe that Russian forces targeted their fields and equipment to starve Ukrainians and ruin one of their country’s most important economic drivers, according to The New York Times.

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