Switzerland to assist Ukraine in demining its territories
Switzerland has announced a new humanitarian aid package for demining Ukrainian territories worth EUR 1.2 million.
This was reported by the Swiss Federal Council.
The aid will be organised by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS).
The DDPS has already handed over to the Ukrainian side a remote-controlled demining machine developed and manufactured by the non-governmental organisation Digger Foundation. The machine is a remote-controlled tracked vehicle, the size of a small bulldozer, that can detonate anti-personnel mines.
DDPS will also provide Kyiv with a truck, a trailer and a set of spare parts for the next three years. In turn, professionals from the Digger Foundation will conduct demining training for Ukrainian authorities.
"The entire assistance package, worth around CHF 1.2 million, will be financed through the Armed Forces' Personal Equipment and Equipment (AEB) loan. Switzerland's contribution is aimed at making humanitarian demining in Ukraine safer and more effective," the statement said.
Since the beginning of last summer, DDPS, together with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), has been training experts from the Ukrainian civilian authorities in humanitarian demining. The training is part of the Partnership for Peace programme.
This month, Germany also announced that it will provide Kyiv with additional Wisten 1 demining vehicles, which is a modification of the Leopard 2 tank, designed to break through enemy minefields. In total, Germany has already delivered 4 such vehicles to Ukraine.
Such assistance is extremely important for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as the Ukrainian military faced certain difficulties in crossing minefields during the summer Ukrainian offensive.
"We assess the counter-offensive positively. It is not easy, because there are certain difficulties. First of all, all our land is mined, even where we have de-occupied our territory - almost two hundred thousand square kilometres of our land is mined. That is why counter-offensive actions are not easy," President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with the BBC.
The first phase of the Ukrainian counter-offensive began earlier this month. The Ukrainian defence forces have already liberated several settlements on different frontlines, including in the Bakhmut and Zaporizhzhia sectors.