Humanitarian demining: DDPS presents Ukraine with remote-controlled demining machine
Bern, 22.06.2023 - The number of areas in Ukraine contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance has risen sharply since the beginning of the war. To meet this challenge, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) has presented the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU) with a demining machine from the Swiss Digger Foundation. The machine allows large areas contaminated with mines and other explosive ordnance to be cleared safely and efficiently. In addition, the Swiss Armed Forces have been training the Ukrainian civilian authorities in humanitarian demining since summer 2022.
The number of areas in Ukraine contaminated with mines, cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war has increased considerably since the beginning of the conflict. These contaminated areas pose a direct threat to the civilian population, making humanitarian demining measures necessary. In order to clear them safely and efficiently, Ukraine urgently requires specialised equipment. This includes, in particular, mechanical clearance equipment.
The DDPS has presented the SESU, Ukraine’s civilian emergency service, with a demining machine developed and manufactured by the Swiss Digger Foundation. The machine is a remote-controlled caterpillar vehicle the size of a small bulldozer. It can destroy or detonate anti-personnel mines with a cutter, rendering them harmless.
Comprehensive package for Ukraine
Besides the demining machine, the DDPS is also providing Ukraine with a truck, trailer and a spare parts package for three years. The Ukrainian authorities will also be trained on site by experts from the Digger Foundation. The entire aid package amounting to around CHF 1.2 million will be funded by the Armed Forces’ credit for personal equipment and materiel renewal (AEB). Switzerland’s contribution is aimed at making humanitarian demining in Ukraine safer and more effective.
The transport of the demining machine and spare parts by truck to Ukraine and the Digger Foundation’s on-site training are scheduled for September.
Training in humanitarian demining by the Swiss Armed Forces
Since last summer, the DDPS, together with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), has also been training experts from Ukraine’s civilian authorities in humanitarian demining. The training courses are being run as part of the Partnership for Peace programme. The participants’ travel and accommodation costs are covered by the Swiss Armed Forces. The DDPS also co-funds a GICHD training programme in western Ukraine.
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