The Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk have seen continued conflict following the events of 2014, during which certain elements declared independence and attempted to cede from Ukraine.  A de facto “contact line” dividing the Government and Non-Government Controlled areas has now evolved in the east of Ukraine. The Ukrainian armed forces and the separatist forces from the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) now regularly exchange fire using a combination of rockets, mortars, artillery and small arms on almost a daily basis.

The protracted nature of the conflict in Ukraine has created a widespread humanitarian crisis, with 3.4 million people in need of humanitarian aid after more than five years of armed hostilities. It has resulted in a deteriorating economic environment that has led to a decrease in livelihoods and employment opportunities across the entire region. Access to livelihoods, security, freedom of movement and civilian casualties caused by indiscriminate shelling and mines or other explosive ordnance hazards remain the top protection concerns in the area.

FSD has been working in Ukraine since early 2015 to help prevent civilian casualties by raising awareness about explosive ordnance hazards in the East of Ukraine. Operations started with explosive ordnance risk education in conflict affected areas, primarily focusing on children. Operations were managed from our operational headquarters in Slaviansk and supported from its administrative headquarters in Kiev.

Later, in 2017, FSD established a full mine clearance capacity which was provided tasking by the regional security forces and aimed to assist in the clearance of explosive hazards from conflict affected areas. FSD conducted various mine action activities, including explosive ordnance risk education and non-technical survey (NTS). A total of 4,884,667 m2 was surveyed and 391,580 m2 of land was cleared over the operational period.

In 2019, due to the lack of funding, clearance and NTS activities were suspended. However, FSD did manage to complete the handover of five cleared areas to the local authorities. This means that in Spring 2020, local farmers can start using the land again after five years of frustration and uncertainty.

For over four years FSD has conducted risk education sessions for children at schools and kindergartens and for adults at community centres, village councils and at community gatherings. Since the beginning of operations in 2015 more than 195,094 men, women, boys and girls received life-saving messages via explosive ordnance risk education training sessions.

In 2020, FSD will be implementing something different to our normal work. In January we started the “Support to Education” project, which aims to preserve children’s right to education and improve access to, and conditions in safe schools (and other education facilities) so they can provide quality education services to students affected by the conflict.

FSD will also continue explosive ordnance risk education this year with a project focusing on people crossing into the government controlled areas of Ukraine from the non-government controlled areas.

Training of FSD medics (simulation of car accident, 2018)

How war impacts children in Eastern Ukraine

A special Thanks for our donors and supporters: