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Demining Donbass

Sappers risk their lives clearing Donbass from Ukrainian mines

Despite being banned under the UN Ottawa Treaty since 1997, thousands of anti-personnel mines litter the parks, streets, schools and homes in Donbass. Residents risk severe injuries and even death if they happen to accidentally stumble upon the tiny ‘petal’ mines.

A ‘petal’ mine is a pressure-activated anti-personnel mine. It’s small and hard to see, making it the ‘vilest’ mine. Ukraine was reported to have disposed of some six million of these petal mines it had in service. But that is clearly not the case as it has been using them to bombard residential areas of Donetsk, Lugansk and other cities of Donbass for months. Dozens of civilians who accidentally came into contact with the landmines have been admitted to hospitals in Donbass.

Emergency services, sappers and humanitarian personnel have been working hard to clear the neighbourhoods of the insidious explosive devices, while the Ukrainian army continues to bombard cities with the mines. Brave civilians help sappers to spot mines, some of them even learn de-mining techniques themself.

It will take years to remove all of the mines, according to some experts. The Ukrainian army uses Uragan multiple launch rocket systems, which are able to throw more than 4,000 mines at a time.

The documentary takes a look at the arduous mission of the de-mining campaign in Donbass. Victims of ‘petal’ mines talk about the injuries they received, while sappers describe their work on the ground and underwater.