From Victor Antonyuk at

Sappers of Russian private military company Wagner Group carry the discovered TM-62M anti-tank mines for utilisation, as Russia’s military operation in Ukraine continues, near the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk People’s Republic. © Sputnik / Viktor Antonyuk

Ukraine is teeming with explosives that have been placed in the ground. The repercussions of this catastrophe will affect future generations.

Since February of last year, when Russia launched its military offensive in the country, mine explosions have killed about 200 civilians in Ukraine, while hundreds more have been injured.

The UN has already called Ukraine the most heavily mined state in the world. Yet the contamination continues to grow because of how positional warfare is carried out. With the conflict far from over, the further laying of explosives could have disastrous consequences.

Deadly traps

Official reports claim that 250,000 square kilometers (almost 62 million acres) of Ukrainian territory have been mined. This is equal to the entirety of the UK (244,000 square kilometers). According to Prime Minister Denis Shmigal, his country has become the world’s largest minefield, which has even spurred the government to create a special center to deal with the fallout.

Experts believe that the situation in Ukraine is worse than in Afghanistan and Syria. The number of unexploded ordnance, anti-personnel, anti-tank, and other mines and explosive shells is estimated to be in the millions of units.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s minefields are growing exponentially. In the past year, the entire length of the front line on both sides has been mined. They are often laid in a scattered manner and without mapping. Given Ukraine’s large size, this greatly complicates the process of finding and neutralizing them.

“Indeed, there is a chance that the mined territories may expand further, both due to the prolongation of the conflict and the likely offensive from either side, which may move hostilities to previously unaffected territories,” Maxim Semenov, a political analyst and specialist in conflicts in the post-Soviet space, told RT.

Official sources also report that the contaminated area is expanding. Last summer, the Ukrainian Deminers Association stated that minefields covered about 133,000 square kilometers of Ukraine, but the number recently announced by Shmigal is already double that.RT

The sign ‘Caution – mines!’ in the village of Zaitsevo, Donetsk region. © Sputnik / Valery Melnikov

Meanwhile, there are no solutions that can be totally effective, and most importantly, quick and simple. Demining is the exclusive job of sappers. For example, back in the 2000s, an average of 50 people a day were blown up on anti-personnel objects in Angola, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. To this day, about 500,000 explosive devices remain, despite the fact that dozens of sapper units from all around the world have helped out in the country. It’s also worth noting that both the fighting and the scope of contamination in Angola were a lot less severe than in Ukraine.

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