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DRC clears villages in Kyiv Oblast littered with explosive ordnance

Due to the massive contamination with explosive ordnance in Ukraine’s Kyiv Oblast, local residents regularly find mines and other dangerous items near their homes. DRC implements comprehensive humanitarian mine action programmes in cooperation with Ukraine’s State Emergency Service to clear the territory and teach people of all ages how to practice safe behaviour to prevent accidents.

DRC deminers clear the forest near Rozvazhiv village in Kyiv Oblast. ©DRC Ukraine, November 2022, Arsen Dzodzaev.

Posted on 23 Feb 2023

Written by Volodymyr Malynka

“Are you collecting unexploded bombs? I have one in my garden! Could you remove that?” says a woman in Rozvazhiv village, where DRC arrived with the State Emergency Service (SES) of Ukraine to identify and collect Explosive Ordnance (EO).

“Local residents told us recently about two mortar shells and we had asked the State Emergency Services to support in disposing of them,” explains Pavlo, a Team Leader of the DRC deminers. “But you see, sometimes the national authorities may collect additional Explosive Remnants of War on the spot if the villagers have found more.” A number of international NGOs in Ukraine are accredited to find and identify the explosives but only national actors have the authority to dispose of them.

The garden in Rozvazhiv, revealed yet another 82 mm mortar shell. Luckily, it was not fused. “It seems simply forgotten there. Probably, this has been a base,” tells Oleksandr, Deputy Head of the SES Humanitarian Demining Unit in Kyiv Oblast.

Oleksandr explains how the villagers are the main source of information about the explosive ordnance left behind. "They inform DRC, local authorities or directly the SES and we then check the area. We have been working in this area since the beginning of April 2022. Firstly, we cleared populated areas, power lines and gas pipelines, and the like. We removed anti-vehicle and anti-personnel mines. There were also a lot of battle remnants such as grenades, artillery shells, tank shells, and so on."

DRC was among the first international humanitarian organisation in Ukraine to establish a formal partnership with the SES on Humanitarian Mine Action and Explosive Ordnance Disposal. This has been an important stepping stone that has enabled to further extension and scale up existing DRC support to deliver comprehensive and integrated activities. Under the agreement, DRC provides vital mine action equipment and technical support to SES, focusing on the clearance of battlefields and disposal of Explosive Remnants of War.

One projectile, 52 kg of explosives

It takes only about 30 minutes for the SES specialists to collect the marked mortar shells. Then, the teams move to another point — there is a projectile from the Russian Uragan multiple rocket launcher about which local residents informed DRC and now, leading the SES to collect it. One such projectile may contain 52 kilograms of explosives. Even when empty, it is so big that it takes four people to transport it to the van.

To raise awareness among the local community, and teach people safe behaviours and how to prevent accidents, DRC conducted Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) sessions in every village in this area. DRC provides free trainings for all interested in Ukrainian and Russian languages to ensure a solid outreach both within Ukraine, but also among those who plan to return (read more about EORE in Ukraine here).

“Last Spring, when the active fighting started, a man stepped on a tripwire in Zhereva, a village near Rozhvahiv. He went to help his neighbours and hit an antipersonnel mine. Luckily, this man survived. Another family tried to leave the village by car and hit an antivehicle landmine — a woman died in this accident. It is new for us to see explosive ordnance, but we must learn how to deal also with this threat. Local residents often find them and inform authorities about it. The EORE sessions are very useful — we learn how different types of explosive ordnance work and what we should do to stay safe,” says Valentyna, the head of Rozvazhiv village council.

“Every step is important”

After collecting an Uragan projectile, the teams drive to the forest, where DRC deminers currently conduct Battle Area Clearance. DRC deminers already found different explosive ordnance here - for example, projectiles, fuses, grenades, and propellant motors - and plan to hand them over to the SES for disposal.

In March 2022, in this forest that is adjacent to the Rozvazhiv village, a warehouse filled with ammunition exploded scattering debris and explosive ordnance across a radius of several hundred of metres. Previously, this area was partially checked by the SES, but only along the side of the roads that lead through the forest to fields. DRC deminers search for ERW in the forest as well to support SES efforts.

"It's difficult because battles took place here, and every step is important. In addition, there is this forest and we have to make our way through the thickets which may be filled with explosive ordnance," says Maksym, a DRC deminer who takes part in the clearance process.

Once cleared, the local community will be able to use this territory safely again, both for cultivating the nearby agricultural lands and collecting popular edible mushrooms in the forest. 
"This kind of support is vital. Some villages were littered with explosive ordnance. It may take years of clearing the territory before we can feel safe here," says Valentyna. 
Humanitarian Mine Action in Rozvazhiv district is possible thanks to funding from the European Union and the Swedish Agency for International Cooperation and Development. DRC improves the SES capacity in Humanitarian Mine Action thanks to the support of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, as well as the German Federal Foreign Office. 

SES specialists collect explosive remnants of war to dispose of them.©DRC Ukraine, November 2022, Arsen Dzodzaev.

SES specialists collect explosive remnants of war to dispose of them. ©DRC Ukraine, November 2022, Arsen Dzodzaev.

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14 Jun 2022

DRC scales up support in Moldova responding to the Ukraine crisis

14 Jun 2022

Press release: International NGOs working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo condemn repeated deadly attacks on displaced civilians

02 Jun 2022

DRC in Ukraine: NGO supported by DRC provides 3000 IDPs with hot meals daily

31 May 2022

DRC Somalia scales up aid to thousands displaced by drought

20 May 2022

Press release: DRC signs large-scale agreement in Ukraine on Humanitarian Mine Action

20 May 2022

Borodianka town near Kyiv is in ruins. DRC calls on all parties to stop bombing civilians

16 May 2022

Press release: Afghan diaspora call for strengthened engagement on Afghanistan

12 May 2022

DRC in Ukraine: Support for IDP collective centres in Western Ukraine

10 May 2022

DRC sets ambitious target: Reducing 50% of our carbon emissions by 2030

03 May 2022

DRC launches Community Feedback Mechanism Guidance key to closing persistent accountability gap

28 Apr 2022

Press release: Will global donors rise to the occasion and prevent starvation and death for millions in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya?

27 Apr 2022

Press release: Patron for the Danish Refugee Council, the Crown Princess of Denmark, visits Rohingya camps

26 Apr 2022

Press release: The Ukraine crisis requires increased global aid budgets, not the redirection of existing funds to avoid devastating global humanitarian consequences

25 Apr 2022

Humanitarian mine action in Afghanistan

21 Apr 2022

UKRAINE: Access to war-stricken families is crucial

11 Apr 2022

The Long Walk to Mogadishu: Thousands of Drought-Affected IDPs Flee to The City

11 Apr 2022

DRC legal advice by street lawyers in east Ukraine

07 Apr 2022

Stories from the field: Supporting survivors of violence and/or torture, GBV, women and girls at risk in New Delhi

07 Apr 2022

Stories from the field: The importance of celebrating each other’s strengths and build meaningful and long-lasting personal connections

05 Apr 2022

Explosive remnants of war in Ukraine

29 Mar 2022

DRC in Ukraine: Emergency aid to Odesa

24 Mar 2022

The deadly legacy of Yemen’s forgotten conflict

24 Mar 2022

Hunger eats away at Afghans' ability to dignified self-preservation

24 Mar 2022

Press release: The deadly legacy of Yemen’s forgotten conflict

22 Mar 2022

Myanmar: New waves of displacement in Kachin State

22 Mar 2022

Press release: Ukraine Urgent action needed to protect civilians from effects of conflict

20 Mar 2022

Iraqi Water Week (14-22 March): Iraq’s water situation continues to deteriorate, with devastating impacts on lives and livelihoods for thousands of Iraqis

19 Mar 2022

DRC receive funding for new anticipatory action pilot

17 Mar 2022

Video: Spring Recharge

16 Mar 2022

Practicing Regenerative Resilience of Agroecosystems - training video

16 Mar 2022

Press release: Without support, people in Yemen will pay the highest price.

15 Mar 2022

Press release: Access to services and early recovery desperately needed to help Syrian population

08 Mar 2022

Thousands pushed into displacement as Horn of Africa suffers worst drought in 40 years

04 Mar 2022

UKRAINE UPDATE: DRC is mobilizing an effective, broad, and timely humanitarian response

04 Mar 2022

Press release: All fleeing conflict must have access to safety and protection and humanitarian assistance to the affected population must be ensured

25 Feb 2022

Chaos in Ukraine: We are there

24 Feb 2022

Press release: DRC response to violent escalation of conflict in Ukraine

19 Feb 2022

Press release: An escalation of the conflict in Ukraine will increase already high humanitarian needs

17 Feb 2022

Repairing homes on former frontlines in Afghanistan

17 Feb 2022

Widowed and displaced with nine children

17 Feb 2022

Hardship and resilience in rural Afghanistan: Meet Nabiullah from Nawa

17 Feb 2022

By 2023 displacement will have doubled over a decade, new report predicts

17 Feb 2022

Press release: By 2023 displacement will have doubled over a decade, new report predicts

19 Jan 2022

Press release: New sanctions risk plunging the people of Mali further into humanitarian crisis

14 Jan 2022

Afghan mine action capacity at risk

12 Jan 2022

Suspension of essential services will worsen the already severe humanitarian crisis in DR Congo

11 Jan 2022

Press release: Record-high needs for aid in Afghanistan

31 Dec 2021

Reinforcing social cohesion through socio-economic opportunities and regenerative practices in Burkina Faso

20 Dec 2021

Press release: DRC is joining the Grand Bargain 2.0

16 Dec 2021

12,000 pushbacks in 2021 reflects worrying normalization of illegal practice

13 Dec 2021

Self-reliance efforts must not lose sight of the achievement of durable solutions

13 Dec 2021

Statement on the Global Compact on Refugees High Level Officials Meeting

10 Dec 2021

"I dream of opening a shop on the main street of town": Exploring links between gender, economic empowerment and violence against women in Iraq

03 Dec 2021

Need for calm and proportional response at the EUs external borders

30 Nov 2021

30th Anniversary of the DRC Standby Roster

30 Nov 2021

Reframing mixed migration: MMC launches the Mixed Migration Review 2021

26 Nov 2021

30th Anniversary of the Standby Partnership

26 Nov 2021

Criminalizing mobility, securitizing borders, and preventing access to territory will not end dangerous journeys

26 Nov 2021

Joint Statement: Call on the EU: Restore Rights and Values at Europe’s Borders

25 Nov 2021

Thousands of people in DR Congo are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance amid a new surge of violence

18 Nov 2021

DR Congo: Only political and financial solutions can put an end the conflict

08 Nov 2021

The Global Compact on Refugees Three Years On: Navigating barriers and maximising incentives in support of refugees and host countries

01 Oct 2021

Stories from the field: Ensuring the best interests of unaccompanied Rohingya refugee children in Indonesia

15 Sep 2021

New report: The displacement crises of the future will stem from forgotten conflicts

10 Sep 2021

Statement: DRC Central African Republic

17 Aug 2021

As crisis in Afghanistan unfolds: Humanitarian access and open borders essential

03 Aug 2021

Croatia/EU Border Monitoring System: Effective Mechanism Needed - Independent, Broad Mandate, Adequate Resources

23 Jul 2021

Using family separation as deterrent – new report documents alarming illegal push-back methods

22 Jul 2021

Supporting refugees in open sites in Greece

16 Jul 2021

DRC calls for deportations to Afghanistan to be put on hold

07 Jul 2021

Countering human smuggling: No silver bullet for safer mobility

02 Jul 2021

“Refugees need a proper living space as much as anyone else”

29 Jun 2021

Stories from the field: Providing an effective and efficient emergency response in Armenia

18 Jun 2021

Danish press release: New global displacement figures show the need for more international solidarity

03 Jun 2021

Danish press release: Reaction to the Danish bill to potentially externalize the asylum procedure

03 Jun 2021

Statement on the Danish proposal to potentially externalize the asylum procedure

12 May 2021

Push back of responsibility: Human Rights Violations as a Welcome Treatment at Europe’s Borders

09 May 2021

Refugee Mothers in Greece Fight for a Better Future for Themselves and Their Children

28 Apr 2021

Predictable, preventable and tragic loss of life in the Central Mediterranean

13 Apr 2021

Stories from the field: The roll-out of a Global Distribution Tool (GDT) in Boa Vista

18 Mar 2021

Open letter: Five years after the EU-Turkey Statement, European Civil Society Demands an End to Containment and Deterrence at the EU’s External Borders

12 Mar 2021

Displacement and COVID-19

12 Mar 2021

New DRC report on COVID-19 Response Details the Challenges of an Extraordinary Difficult Year for Refugees and Displaced Persons

24 Feb 2021

Cultural Mediators support refugees in Greece

18 Feb 2021

HELIOS National Sensitization Campaign

18 Feb 2021

Refugees are in need of legal aid in Greece

17 Feb 2021

When I grow up

17 Feb 2021

Danish press release: Reaction to Denmark’s decision to revoke Syrian refugees’ residence permits

15 Feb 2021

Refugee mothers in Greece

10 Feb 2021

Press release: DRC commends Colombia’s decision to regularize Venezuelan migrants

04 Feb 2021

Press release: Refugees from Tigray are in need of assistance after arriving to Sudan

25 Jan 2021

DRC Statement on COVID-19 vaccines

21 Jan 2021

Press release: Yemen Statement

23 Dec 2020

Press release: Statement on Ethiopia

30 Nov 2020

A challenging year

24 Nov 2020

Former DRC Country Director becomes permaculture farmer – David Kang’ethe

11 Nov 2020

Thousands of refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina will face hardship during winter

10 Nov 2020

Turning rhetoric into reality: New monitoring mechanism at European borders should ensure fundamental rights and accountability

20 Oct 2020

Yemeni communities becoming resilient one seed at a time

20 Oct 2020

Localizing regenerative solutions in Tanzania

20 Oct 2020

Climate resilience among Rohingya refugees and their host communities

23 Sep 2020

Press release: Asylum and Migration Pact

24 Feb 2023
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23 Feb 2023
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