Amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, large Western mine-clearing vehicles are working to rid Ukraine of landmines laid by Russia. The nation is grappling with an estimated 174,000 square kilometers of landmine-contaminated territory. Different types of mine-clearing machines are being used, each with its benefits and challenges, while manual clearance at night remains a dangerous but necessary method.
- Ukraine’s territories are heavily mined, with 174,000 square kilometers affected, requiring substantial mine-clearing machines, primarily supplied by Western countries.
- Russia has deployed diverse types of landmines, with the main challenge being the anti-tank mines that are activated either by weight or a tilt rod.
- Mine-clearing during this war is uniquely challenging because of the use of drones which detect and target mine-clearing equipment and the related countermeasures taken.
- Of the mine-clearing machines supplied to Ukraine, some are slow-moving ploughing vehicles while others, like the German-made WiSNET 1, are faster flail vehicles. The Ukrainians are also producing their adaptive, quiet, and affordable mine-clearance vehicles.
- Despite the technological interventions, many Ukrainians, including children and soldiers, have suffered severe injuries due to landmines, emphasizing the urgent need for more mine-clearing assistance and a potential global ban on landmines.