The “huge number” of unexploded shells and mines in Ukraine will take years to defuse once the war is over, the country’s interior minister has warned.
Denys Monastyrsky said Friday the war-torn country will continue to need Western support to clean up the remnants of the brutal conflict after the Russian invasion.
“A large number of shells and mines have been fired at Ukraine and a large number have not exploded, they remain under the rubble and pose a real threat,” Mr Monastyrsky told the Associated Press from Kyiv.
“It will take years, not months, to defuse them.”
Alongside reams of unexploded Russian ordnance are landmines that have been planted by Ukrainian forces on bridges, airports and other vital infrastructure to prevent Putin’s forces from using them.
“We will not be able to clear the mines from this entire area, so I have asked our international partners and colleagues from the European Union and the United States to prepare expert groups to study the combat zones and facilities that have come under fire , to demin. ‘ said Mr Monastyrsky.
Dealing with fires caused by the relentless strikes also worries the Kiev official. Mr Monastyrsky said the capital was suffering from a serious shortage of personnel and equipment to fight the fires amid the constant shelling.
Despite recent warnings of a likely full-scale Russian attack on Kyiv, the armed forces have recently made little progress and suffered significant casualties.
It comes as the officer in charge of defending the region around the country’s capital said on Friday his forces were well positioned to defend the city.
Speaking to AP, Major General Oleksandr Pavlyuk said “the enemy is stopped,” adding that “we are improving this system of defense lines” to make Kyiv “unapproachable to the enemy.”
Despite three weeks of intense Russian bombardment, Ukraine has managed to maintain the defenses of its cities.
“From time to time the enemy tests our defenses, but our guys are strong in their positions and also play an active role in preventing the enemy from fulfilling their plans,” he said.
Pavlyuk, who was put in charge of the capital’s military defense earlier this week, said Moscow used the same tactics used when the conflict with Russian-backed separatists erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
“So this war has now been turned into killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure to scare our people to the max,” he said.
“But we will never give up. We will fight to the end. To the last breath and to the last bullet.”
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https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ukraine-unexploded-shells-defuse-b2039428.html Kyiv warns it “will take years” to defuse unexploded shells and mines in Ukraine