Ukraine’s new Mine Action Centre to train 3,000 deminers with investment from Metinvest

Major General Bohdan Bondar, Head of the Administration of the State Service of Ukraine for Transport Safety speaking to the Mine Action Centre in Ukraine. Image from Metinvest.

Ukraine’s State Transport Special Service, a specialized military unit of the Ministry of Defence, this week opened a new Mine Action Centre in the Chernihiv region.

The Mine Action Centre is a new response to the challenge of massive mine contamination during the war. Ukraine has become the most heavily mined country in the world because of the hostilities, so there is an immediate need to certify, educate and train sappers and demining specialists.

The area of mine-contaminated de-occupied territory is currently around 45,000 square kilometres, and it will increase by around 190,000 square kilometres after the complete de-occupation of Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine-headquartered mining company Metinvest Group partnered to help fund the centre’s construction through the United 24 state fundraising platform. One of the Mine Action Centre’s main tasks will be vocational training of sappers.

The plan is to train more than 3,000 specialists to perform humanitarian demining of areas left heavily contaminated with explosive ordnance in the aftermath of fighting. Metinvest’s financial support has helped to build the centre’s main administrative building. The Group has invested UAH9.5 million ($260,000) to fund the construction.

“Mine clearance of Ukraine’s territory after the war is one of the biggest challenges that our society will face. Thousands of homes, estates, fields and businesses, like our Azovstal, bear these consequences of war,” Metinvest Group CEO Yuriy Ryzhenkov said in a statement.

“This is why investing to open the Mine Action Centre in the Chernihiv region is the next step that Metinvest Group and its shareholder are taking in a major project to assist in the demining of Ukraine, as part of which we are already producing mine trawls for tanks. I strongly believe that systematic approaches to mine action should be implemented throughout Ukraine,” said Ryzhenkov.

The Mine Action Centre will plan, organize and coordinate mine action activities, inform the population about the risks associated with mines and explosive remnants of war, and train and certify mine action operators.

“Two years ago, a capsule was laid in the foundation of the modern office building that stands before us today thanks to the State Transport Service’s partners, United 24 and Metinvest Group,” said Colonel Yevhen Biriukov, head of the Mine Action Centre.

“The centre was created to plan, organize and coordinate mine action activities. Today, the centre certifies mine action operators, inspects the quality of demined areas, manages information and provides scientific support for mine action. We also inform the public about the risks associated with explosive ordnance,” said Biriukov.

The launch of the centre will improve the efficiency of the demining quality management system and the inspection of demined areas. The centre also certifies mine action operators and processes, engages demining teams in areas contaminated by explosive ordnance, and provides scientific and technical support for mine action.