Azerbaijan is ready to help demining the territory of Ukraine as part of the country’s post-war reconstruction, the republic’s ambassador to Kyiv, Seymur Mardaliyev, has said.
“We would like to express our admiration for your steadfastness and courage in repelling Russian aggression. That is why we have decided to increase the size of the aid package to Ukraine, including in the issue of humanitarian demining”, Mardaliyev said during a meeting with Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Bohdan Drapyatiy (quoted by RBC-Ukraine).
In particular, Baku will join the countries that will conduct trainings for Ukrainian specialists in the field of demining. Also, the Azerbaijani side will provide Ukraine with a new aid package, which will include a mechanized demining machine.
Prior to that Baku provided Kyiv with more than 137 tons of medicines, medical equipment and humanitarian aid totaling almost $17 million. State oil company SOCAR supplied more than 200,000 liters of fuel to the Ukrainian side. In addition, Azerbaijan transferred 45 power transformers and 50 generators to restore Ukraine’s energy system after massive missile strikes by Russia.
During the year and a half of the war, Ukraine has become the most mined country in the world – the area of minefields has grown to the size of Uruguay or the state of Florida, the Washington Post wrote. According to a report by the Slovak Globsek Policy Institute, more than 173,000 square kilometers in Ukraine require lengthy, costly and dangerous demining operations. This area represents about 30 percent of the country’s territory.
Against this background, between February 2022 and July 2023, the UN recorded 298 civilian mine victims, of which 22 were children. Another 632 civilians were injured.
In preparation for the Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russia mined its defense lines in the occupied territories in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions. According to Human Rights Watch, Russian troops used at least 13 types of anti-personnel mines, among which were mines with a trigger mechanism that the victim activates.
Some experts estimate the time needed for humanitarian demining in Ukraine at 757 years at the current rate of about 500 teams. The World Bank estimates that the cost of demining one square meter would cost between $2 and $8, requiring $37.4 billion over the next 10 years. The USA has previously pledged to provide Ukraine with more than $95m for demining.