According to the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Ukraine is one of the most mine and explosive contaminated countries in the world. Thus, the Ministry officially registered 721 land mine blasts since the beginning of the war in Donbas in 2014. A total of 1,178 Ukrainian soldiers have been blown up by landmines: 257 soldiers have been killed and 921 more have been wounded, the Environmental Safety and Mine Action Department of the Ministry of Defence reported in response to an official inquiry.
The Ministry also added that, according to preliminary data, 7,000 square kilometres (700,000 hectares) have been mined in the government-controlled areas, and about 9,000 square kilometres (900,000 hectares) have been mined in the occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea.
According to non-governmental mine action operators, 74 civilians have been blown up by land mines in the government-controlled areas since 2014. Forty-three civilians have been killed.
As a reminder, landmine clearance in Donbas began in 2014. Now, it is carried out under the annual plan by the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Special Transport Service, the State Emergency Service, as well as foreign non-governmental organisations, and national mine action operators.
In early September, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine reported that Russian-backed militants continued to mine the territory of Donbas, including the rear areas near the line of contact. At the same time, mine barriers are established with the use of anti-tank mines and anti-personnel POM-2, PMN-2, MON, OZM-72 mines prohibited by international conventions. Such actions by the occupying forces pose an additional danger to the civilian population.