Czechia to join demining mission in Ukraine


Close to two years after the Russian invasion, Ukraine is now the most mine-contaminated country globally since World War II. The EU is actively helping the demining effort and Czechia is one of the countries that have offered to train Ukrainian experts in the field.

Illustrative photo: ELG21,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

The Russian invasion has led to 30% of Ukrainian land currently contaminated by landmines and other explosives. Even as the war continues, the priority is to return as much land to civilian use as fast as possible, enabling people to return to their homes and communities and restart economic activities in the area.

The EU is helping to tackle this challenge and is providing more than EUR 110 million to support the effort. Lithuania has been tasked with assembling a coalition of countries to help demine Ukraine. The mission will operate on territories liberated from Russian occupation and EU members have been invited to take part in, train or equip the demining effort – as they see fit. Last year, Czechia was one of 12 countries to join the “demining coalition”, alongside Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, among others.

The Czech Army, which has trained over 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers in combat warfare in the Libava military area has now offered to expand this training to explosives experts in order to assist the process.

Soldier | Illustrative photo: Martin Dorazín,  Czech Radio

"The Czech Army is ready to organize a month-long humanitarian demining training course for about 50 Ukrainian explosives experts in 2024," Ivana Navrátilová, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence, said in an interview for the news site She said the Czech army has made the offer to Ukraine and is awaiting a response. "We have prepared two dates for training Ukrainian explosives experts, but for security reasons we cannot disclose them," Navrátilová said.

Four thousand Ukrainian soldiers passed through the Libava training area last year before going to the front. One of the skills to help them survive is training in how to move in mined territory, which is part of the basic combat training they receive in this country.

More Ukrainian recruits are expected to benefit from it this year. Last November, the Czech lower house agreed that the army could train another 4,000 Ukrainians in Libava in 2024.

Czechia was one of the first countries to provide military assistance to Ukraine after the Russian invasion and to train Ukrainian soldiers. The army has already shipped CZK 6.2 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine from so-called mobilization stocks, which the army could spare.

Jana Černochová | Photo: Office of Czech Government

These included four Mi-24 attack helicopters, 62 tanks mainly of the T-72 type, 130 infantry fighting vehicles and dozens of cars. Among the donations were 13 self-propelled gun howitzers and 12 rocket launchers, complete with ammunition. In addition, the country donated tens of thousands of small arms accompanied by millions of rounds of ammunition and military medical supplies.

Last year, Defence Minister Jana Černochová announced that the army had reached its limit in what it could provide.

However, Czech arms factories continue to export weapons to Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war, the Ministry of Industry has issued export licenses worth 130 billion crowns.

Tanks T-72 for Ukraine | Photo: ČT24

During that time, Czech companies have exported more than 50 billion crowns worth of weapons to Ukraine. The largest suppliers include Czechoslovak Group, which supplies refurbished tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, howitzers and RM-70 Vampire rocket launchers, and the STV Group, which exports modernized heavy equipment and artillery ammunition.

Author: Daniela Lazarová | Sources: , Český rozhlas
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