Ukraine needs 757 years to complete demining
Ukraine has become the most mined country in the world, ahead of Afghanistan and Syria
TIME writes that during Russia's full-scale war, mines, along with bombs, artillery and other unexploded ordnance, have contaminated Ukraine to the point where it will take 757 years to clear it.
Since the start of Russia's full-fledged invasion, Ukraine has surpassed Afghanistan and Syria to become the world's most mined country. A third of Ukraine's area is thought to be littered with millions of unexploded mines and cluster bombs, as well as booby traps and shell pieces.
According to the publication, the massive minefields have hindered not just the Ukrainian army's counteroffensive. They have put six million residents at risk and rendered some of the country's most important agriculture inaccessible, negatively impacting Ukraine's economy and the global food supply.
"The scale of the contamination of Ukraine with mines and unexploded ordnance is the largest since the Second World War," says Yulia Svyrydenko, Minister of Economy.
According to GLOBSEC, a Slovakian think group, it would take Ukraine 757 years to eliminate this threat using traditional tactics and available resources.
According to figures obtained by TIME from Ukraine's Ministry of Economy, at least 264 individuals had been killed by mines as of November 1, with another 830 maimed or disabled. These figures exclude areas still under Russian rule or where severe warfare is ongoing.
Svyrydenko says that Ukraine plans to return 80% of the contaminated land to economic use within 10 years.
Pete Smith, program manager for Ukraine at HALO Trust, an international nonprofit demining organization, says Ukraine is the first country he can remember doing this level of humanitarian demining work while the war is still ongoing.