FSD’s programme in Ukraine started in 2015. Our team has expanded to meet the considerable needs of the ongoing war. Since August 2022, our deminers have been locating and clearing mines and explosive remnants of war in several provinces.
Our programme continues to grow
September 2023 / The fighting in Ukraine has left behind hundreds of thousands of anti-personnel mines, anti-vehicle mines and unexploded or abandoned munitions which did not explode on impact. Almost a third of the country is contaminated. These dangerous remnants of war not only threaten the lives of civilians, but also obstruct humanitarian efforts, hamper reconstruction and prevent farmers from accessing their fields.
As a response to this acute crisis, FSD set up an additional operational base in Chernihiv and Kharkiv and quadrupled its workforce. Operations are also being carried out on an ad hoc basis in the provinces of Mykolaïv and Odessa.
To date, FSD has ten specialised battlefield clearance teams, two clearance teams using specialized machines, two teams clearing collapsed buildings using armoured construction machines, ten non-technical survey teams and four explosive ordnance risk education teams.
In total, more than 200 FSD staff are working in the provinces of Kyiv (administrative office), Chernihiv and Kharkiv.
In addition to the partnership with the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, a large-scale project funded by Switzerland has been launched in the province of Kharkiv. FSD is also focusing on harnessing new technologies and constantly improving its geographic information systems. This refines the skills of our teams and strengthens our ability to intervene rapidly in other critical zones.
Since the summer of 2022, FSD’s rapid response teams have responded to over a hundred requests to neutralise explosive devices found by residents. Moreover, FSD demining teams have secured more than 120,000 square metres of land, including farmland, village areas, towns and vital infrastructure. During the same period, almost 100,000 women, men and children took part in FSD risk education sessions, learning how to identify explosive devices and how to adopt the right behaviour to stay safe in the face of this threat.
Since March 2023, FSD has been providing technical assistance to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service (SESU) in the deployment and use of eight demining machines recently received by Ukraine.
I found a big pile of explosives near a village. I’m happy FSD found them and not the local children because, at first glance, it doesn’t look dangerous at all.
Ukrainian FSD deminer
News from Ukraine
US Secretary of State in Ukraine
We were honoured to welcome Antony Blinken to our programme in Ukraine. The US Secretary of State visited one of our clearance teams in Yahidne, Chernihiv province. For over a year, our deminers have been working tirelessly to clear the area to allow the resumption of agricultural activities. Wall Street Journal has documented this visit.
Help us prevent mine accidents
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is littering cities and farmland with massive amounts of unexploded ordnance. Every contribution, regardless of the amount, helps us rid the country of these lethal remnants of war.
FSD in Ukraine
FSD’s involvement in Ukraine dates back to the beginning of 2015, in the Donbass region. The aim was to minimise civilian casualties by teaching people to “live with” mines and unexploded ordnance in relative safety until all contaminated areas are cleared.
In 2017, FSD began a demining programme to locate and destroy explosive devices in the same region.
In late 2019, a project was launched to increase access to education in conflict areas. When FSD staff visited schools and kindergartens for their mine risk education missions, they saw the extent of destruction of schools and the devastating impact of the conflict on the daily lives of children.
In 2022, as the fighting intensified and spread throughout the country, FSD’s activities were reoriented to provide emergency humanitarian aid (food, shelter, medicines, fuel, etc.).
As soon as the security situation allowed, demining and risk education were resumed.
To date, FSD is active in the provinces of Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, quadrupled its workforce and acquired specialised machinery to maximise its impact in the face of the scale of the contamination.
Furthermore, a major partnership with the United Nations (WFP/FAO) has been established to clear small-scale farms of mines.
FSD’s Ukraine programme is funded by the US State Department, the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, Swiss Solidarity, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and several private foundations, Swiss cantons and municipalities.
Centimetres after centimetres
In 2022, more than 1 000 risk education sessions were delivered in affected communities. This is despite the sometimes extreme working conditions.
Where is FSD currently working in Ukraine? What does a landmine look like? Answers to your questions, once a month.
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