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Landmine threat in Chechnya still prevalent

23 January 2017

More than 10,000 hectares of land needs to be cleared of mines in Chechnya, Yury Stavitsky, commander of Russia’s military engineers said in an interview with press agency Interfaks. Additionally, 2,000 hectares also needs to be demined in neighboring Ingushetia.

Since they began their work in Chechnya in 2012, the military engineers have cleared more than 13,000 hectares of land. Approximately 10,000 explosive objects have been found and destroyed.

Almost all of the areas cleared so far have been located in lowland Chechnya, with the remaining areas in more mountainous terrain, which complicates the work.

Residents of Chechnya, don’t understand the reasons for delays. Although not as common as during active hostilities, people still die because of unexploded ordnance left in forests.

With the onset of winter, a traditional gathering of wild garlic begins in the foothills of Chechnya. This period marks the highest number of landmine victims, because the area has yet to be cleared.

According to UNICEF, over 500,000 explosive devices have been scattered across Chechnya since the beginning of the First Chechen War in 1994. Between 1994 and 2002 10,000 people were killed or maimed as a result of unexploded ordnance, including 4,000 women and children.

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