Ukraine's Navy Commander on 3 stages of Black Sea demining: "It will take years"
The Black Sea will be demined in three stages. Currently, during the hostilities, the first stage is already underway, but a full-scale mine operation will take years
Navy Commander Oleksiy Neizhpapa told Ukrainska Pravda in an interview.
According to him, first of all, it will be necessary to demine the recommended routes and anchorages, because this is what is used in civilian shipping. This will take 5 to 7 months, depending on the number of ships and assets involved in the operation. This year, Ukraine will receive a mine-clearing ship from the Netherlands. Then in 2025 - another one.
"But it will take years to demine the entire area of combat activity, which includes the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov," said Neizhpapa.
He noted that the first stage of demining is already underway, which is the direct fight against mines.
"The second stage is that Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey are now uniting in a tactical group to combat drifting mines. So far, they will deal with mines that are in their area of responsibility, not off the coast of Ukraine or in our exclusive economic zone. Our vision is that we should also be in this group to have our representatives for coordination. And it will be so," said the Navy Commander.
The third stage will begin after the victory. It will be a full-scale anti-mine operation.
"For this purpose, the Navy has set up a relevant headquarters, people are being trained, and we already have anti-mine ships that will be deployed to the Black Sea immediately after the victory. We are preparing our specialists and divers, among other things," summarized Neizhpapa.
What is known about demining in Ukraine
In March 2023, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said that the area of mined territory in Ukraine was 4.5 times the size of Switzerland.
In August, the Ministry of Economy said that it hoped to clear 80% of the land and return it to use in 10 years.
The same month, Ukraine's first domestically produced machine for preparing soil for demining received a certificate of conformity. This development allows for the effective neutralization of anti-personnel and detection of anti-tank mines.
On September 22, it was announced that Ukraine would launch a market for humanitarian demining services through Prozorro.
On November 6, Ukraine received 6 DIGITAL VANGUARD-S robotic systems from Canada to help rescuers remotely defuse explosive ordnance. Later that month, Azerbaijan handed over a demining vehicle to Ukraine, and it was sent to the Poltava region. And in December, it became known that the Swiss company Global Clearance Solutions (GCS) plans to deliver 60 remote-controlled demining vehicles to Ukraine by mid-2024.