The tightening of the process of demining in Ukraine can lead to a new crisis

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A Ukrainian serviceman is clearing mines in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine (UNIAN photo)

After an active phase of military operations in the east of Ukraine there are huge territories polluted due to the presence of ammunitions and mines . According to estimates it is about 19 thousand km ² in Donetsk region (71% of all area) and 18,4 thousand more km ² in Luhansk (69%).

The newspaper «The Guardian» with reference to the report of the UN reports about the growth of casualties and those with serious injuries, among the civilians, and also the military personnel as a result of the mines and the unexploded ammunition present.

Reports by the newspaper indicate that more than 600 people, among them – children were casualties because of the mines and unexploded ammunitions.

The unresolved issue of demining in the Luhansk and Donetsk region threatens not only the lives of the civilian, but also the process of settlement of the conflict in the region. At the moment the number of deaths as a result of explosion of the mines or unexploded shells continues to expand in a zone where Anti-terrorist Operations (ATO) are being conducted in the east of Ukraine. This creates an additional intensity in the region that directly can result in negative influence on the course of negotiations in the Minsk format.

But now the question with the organization in-charge of the demining process in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions drags on. The accomplishment of this possible work on mine clearing of the region  was planned to connect the international specialists, but this decision has caused a criticism wave in a type of narrow specifics of these activities and a number of the international scandals.

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The results from the campaigns for mine clearing in Chechnya, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and a number of the countries of African region has shown low productivity owing to the non-systematic approach to accomplish these tasks and also the presence of rampant corruption in the processes. The foreign companies on mine clearing often met difficulties in organizing the activities and had a number of difficulties in the work including external influences.

The similar organizations have zero authority on control of actions in the areas where they work and often consciously overstate the cost of the work and tighten terms of accomplishment of objectives.

Earlier only regular divisions (specialists) of law enforcement agencies had the right to carry out practical works on mine clearing and neutralization of ammunition in a zone of anti-terrorist operation. It cannot but form a basis for attempts of the opaque solution of questions of mine clearing. The international companies which are present at the region on humanitarian mine clearing (such as HALO Trust) are concentrated in working with the local population concerned with the reduction of risks of the unexploded mines in the present scenario .

In Ukraine more priority should be given and it also works as an option with the involvement of domestic specialists familiar with specifics and ready to start the process with the objective of achieving success.

Mine clearance is one of the five core components of mine action. In its broad sense, it includes surveys, mapping and minefield marking, as well as the actual clearance of mines from the ground. This range of activities is also sometimes referred to as “demining”.

The active military operations in the Luhansk and Donetsk region there were a number of tasks the solution of which became necessary.

There was so also one of the non-government organization on humanitarian mine action “DEMINING TEAM OF UKRAINE” Ltd. Investigation of the territories of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions regarding pollution by explosive objects of war, their neutralization, and also work with the population, at schools on aspects of anti mine safety became the main specialization for the organization.

In the course of the solution of objectives of  “D.T. U” algorithms of approach to work according to the IMAS standards are developed (International standards of anti mine activities – International Mine Action Standards).

The organization already has the official status and is accredited as the subject of the economic right in a zone of carrying out anti-terrorist operation for today. One of tasks of “D.T. U”, as envisioned by authors of the project, is re socialization of participants of anti-terrorist operation that are restored to peaceful life.

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Success of the project will be promoted considerably by availability in the team of the most experienced de miners who have notable experience of carrying out humanitarian mine clearing in various corners of the world within humanitarian transactions of the UN. In their structure not only experienced de miners that can constitute fundamentals of methodology of safe work, but also the experienced managers having a work experience in the international companies.

It considerably increases efficiency of creation of production processes. The generator of the idea of creation of such domestic enterprise is Ruslan Pytkovsky with a call sign “Belarus” which is the participant of anti-terrorist operation. This patriot of Ukraine for himself in 2014 has made a crucial decision to help Ukraine to defend the territorial integrity and as the citizen of Belarus, the regular officer has taken active part in anti-terrorist transaction in the east of Ukraine.

According to Ruslan‘s words, the D.T. U project is socially important and is directed first of all to improvement of a situation in the region. The team of the project is ready to carry out works on humanitarian mine clearing even in “a red zone”.

“Ukraine is indivisible, our main objective to rescue the nation and to secure lives as much as possible citizens of our state aren’t dependent on political views and a nationality” – one of project coordinators, “Belarus” has declared.

Activity of the D.T. U organization can open direct peaceful dialogue with local population and by that to lift prestige of Ukraine in their eyes.

The director of  “DEMINING TEAM OF UKRAINE”, the successful administrator and the businessman, Kushnyr Andry emphasizes the importance of this project for the fastest reduction of risks of mine danger in the region. Not operating units of the executive authority of Ukraine are ready to all things. Emergence of the non-state organization for humanitarian mine clearing in the region can give an impetus to active actions which were problematic in connection with politicization of the matter earlier, to deliver process of mine clearing on a flow. It will serve as an example for other domestic-owned firms which will be able effectively to work in this segment.

“The competition, transparency of procedures here only on advantage of case”, – Kushnyr Andry considers.

At the moment Ukraine has appeared in “leaders” of the main world anti-ratings and in a question of mine safety. Ukraine is included into a black list of the countries on a situation with mine safety. And the state became the leader directly in two categories. The first – in the four of the countries by the number of mine destructive devices in the territory of Ukraine, the second – in the five of the countries with high death rate from mine destructive devices.

It is necessary for the problem resolution half a billion dollars and involvement of experienced specialists. For coordination of actions according to the solution of the matter the special law of Ukraine regulating questions of implementation of humanitarian mine clearing can be adopted in the near future.

Questions of humanitarian mine clearance were actively discussed in Strasbourg at session of PACE and Conference of non-governmental organizations at the beginning of 2016. Today the situation with mine safety in Ukraine has led of many people among whom there are also children to death. And unfortunately system work on humanitarian mine clearing isn’t conducted. In fact each department works narrowly in the direction.

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