70 Donbass residents killed or wounded in mine blasts over past year - OSCE
LUGANSK, April 4 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Some 70 residents of eastern Ukraine were killed or wounded in mine and UXO explosions over the past 12 months, the OSCE website reported.
“In the past 12 months, the SMM confirmed that at least 70 people had lost their lives or sustained injuries as a result of explosions of mines and UXO. Eighteen of them were children. In addition to civilian casualties, mines and UXO also impede basic socio-economic activities, restrict movement, hinder recovery and development, and separate people," the report said.
On the occasion of International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan, and OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine Henrik Villadsen noted the importance of mine action in the conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine.
“Agreement to remove mines and stop the laying of new ones was reached in Minsk years ago,” Apakan said. “Yet, mines continue to take and disrupt the lives of Ukrainians on both sides of the contact line, leaving no doubt that more humanitarian de-mining is immediately required.”
“The SMM is facilitating de-mining efforts, particularly in areas around schools, hospitals, residential housing and entry-exit checkpoints, in both Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and stands ready to continue its support in the future,” he added.
“Reducing risks posed by mines and UXO requires the consolidated efforts of all partners – State and non-governmental agencies, and local and international organizations, Villadsen said. “In support of these efforts, the OSCE Project Co-ordinator helps develop supporting legislation and regulations; together with Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, supports the roll-out of IMSMA, a digital system for mine action planning; and provides equipment and training to national authorities.”
On December 8, 2005, the UN General Assembly proclaimed International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. It is marked annually on April 4.
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