There is a constant threat of anti-personnel mines in Ukraine

“Andryoucha, no one will scold you… The sooner you tell us what happened, the sooner we can go home. » Faced with heavy-handed demining police camped on the wreckage of a burnt-out Russian tank, little Andrei squeezes his mother’s hand and tucks his chin into his blue jacket. A few hours ago, a 10-year-old boy was running towards his house in fear of an explosion that injured his playmate. The child, who suffered a slight back injury, was treated at the village polyclinic in a short time. Andrey had to explain himself to medical personnel before police led him to the outskirts of the Ukrainian village of Yarova, to a railway line surrounded by destroyed Russian tanks. The place where the accident happened.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance are a constant threat to residents in the areas captured by the Ukrainian army in eastern Ukraine since September. Explosives hidden in fields, forests, and sometimes in houses caused the death of 6 Ukrainian citizens and injured 31 people.er and November 20, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A great task

In Yarova, a long village in the Donetsk region near the Donets River, which has served as a front line for several months, a group of Ukrainian police are trying to make sense of Andrey’s confusing story on this mid-November afternoon. A group of children allegedly set the body on fire, triggering the explosion. “Andrei, tell me he asks the policeman while removing the automatic bullet from the magazine attached to his chest: did it look like this? » With a shy negative head.

The same response when one of the minesweepers removed a belt of heavy machine gun bullets from the rusty turret. Unable to determine the cause of the explosion, the angry police left that day. The prosecutor’s office of the Donetsk region will later recall the mine explosion “slightly wounded” A 9-year-old child.

Weeks after the departure of the last Russian soldiers, the scale of the task in eastern Ukraine, one of the most heavily mined areas on the planet even before Russia’s February 24 invasion, is enormous. “Look, this is one of the main reasons for accidents in the region,” 113 soldier Andriy Nesmiyan assurese area defense brigade, pointing to two porcini mushrooms by the side of a mined road in a pine forest outside Izium. The soldiers of this unit, mainly from Kharkiv, took part in the liberation of their home region in September and for several days were limited to demining operations outside the city of Izium. “It’s not really our job at the baseknows the man but there is such a need…”

Humiliated everyday life

Even when they are not detonated, the presence of landmines directly disrupts the daily lives of residents by denying access to spaces that were once open to all. As winter approached, it made wood-gathering a very important and very dangerous activity in the battle-ravaged and often unheated areas, and was often forbidden.

“We are not allowed to enter the forest and the fine is too high” Confirms Irina from Lyman, which suffered greatly from the fighting and where the residents were preparing to spend the winter in the basements of the buildings. Demining Ukraine could take decades, according to organizations specializing in demining in war zones.

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to the special court on “Crimes of Russia”.

The European Union will try to create a special tribunal to judge “Crimes of Russia” In Ukraine, on Wednesday, November 30, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced.

Brussels also wants to mobilize frozen Russian assets (€300 billion in the Russian Central Bank and €19 billion in oligarchs) to rebuild the country.

According to the head of the European executive power, more than 20,000 civilians and more than 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died since the invasion of Ukraine began in February. Damage is estimated at 600 billion euros.

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