News From Ukraine: Farmers work to safely demine their fields to get back to work

It is now time to check in on farmers in Ukraine. This week, they have been working to demine their fields as safely as possible so that they can get back to work.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage:

Hi. We continue our analysis of events and this fear in agriculture in Ukraine. Here, agribusinesses are literally walking through minefields. During four months of the war, certain regions of Ukraine had to adapt to life under occupation. Russians left a lot of so-called “gifts” there, such as mines, scorched earth, and exploded shells. Therefore, mining became one of the priority tasks of Ukrainians after the liberation of these territories. In particular, this is relevant to agricultural land. According to the Association of Sappers of Ukraine, the area of hostilities covers 34 million acres, and probably about 12 million acres of agricultural land have been mined so far. Because of this, more than 2 million acres of fertile land were not planted this season. The fields with winter crops, which have been sown since Autumn, cannot be harvested due to the dangers posed by landmines. We talked about this with Andrij Dem’yanovich, the founder of the volunteer service, which connects farmers with Cyprus, and Timur Pistryuga, the chairman of the Association of Sappers of Ukraine

Andrij Dem’yanovich, the Volunteer Service Founder says, “We analyzed the territories affected by hostilities, which have already been liberated. These territories were under temporary occupation for a short time. This period did not give Russians the chance to mine thousands of acres of land through organized mining. Rather, these are actions connected with a desire to purposely endanger people. We will return to these territories in the future. Mining of forest strips, field roads, etc. All of this points to a lack of tactics and a desire to scatter mines somewhere. We are now dealing with the consequences of this.”

Timur Pistryuga, the Association of Sappers of Ukraine Chairman says, “This is not only about the fact that a Russian soldier came and placed an APM-23 mine. It is not only this danger. In fact, territories that are bombarded by artillery fire, high precision weapons, and aerial bombs are also a danger. The situation in Eastern Ukraine also shows us that every fifth piece of ammunition that was launched on our territory did not explode. This is a separate category of unexploded ordinances or ammunition that did not explode. This is a big threat. For example, imagine that there is a winter crop in a field. A shell lands there, but you do not see it. This is dangerous. Moreover, the presence of Russian troops themselves can also be dangerous. For example, a soldier may have made some kind of mine trap; they could have left the grenade because they were running away. It is difficult to call Russians a military because they do not fight with military methods, but at least they wear military uniforms. There were cases when farmers did not wait for Sappers and started fieldwork, falling victim to the landmines. The result is death or injury of people and destroyed equipment.”

Ryta Mazankova, Humanitarian Demining Department Head says, “They are looking for anti-transport mines now. This is what is done after the first group did a superficial visual inspection. Now, if there are signals, they mark them. We engage in marking. We call the appropriate service and they decide what to do next. We saw a lot of completely inadequate installations of hazardous mines. How were they installed? This is all very unexpected. You understand that it cannot be here, but it is.”

The Russians did not leave anything behind good, only damaged lives and destroyed villages, mined fields, washing machines, and even animals. Ukrainians are doing everything they can to liberate the occupied regions as soon as possible.

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