Land mines planted in Ukraine have killed 277 people including 14 children since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the State Emergency Service reported at Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

Spokesman Oleksandr Khorunzhy said at the state news agency’s briefing room on Wednesday that another 608 people have been injured, including 74 children.

Clearing the country’s roads, farmlands and forests of hidden explosives has proved a monumental task for Ukraine’s soldiers and civilians, relying primarily on foreign-donated minesweepers and even homemade machinery fashioned by local farmers.

As part of that effort, for example, Swiss company Global Clearance Solutions (GCS) announced it will deliver 60 mine-clearing vehicles to Ukraine by the middle of next year.

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The United States and European countries have sent tens of millions of dollars’ worth of mine-clearing equipment to Ukraine as part of each aid package, including a $4 million American-made Assault Breacher sent in November: a 55-ton mine-clearing vehicle with the armored hull of an M-1 tank, with launchers for line charges.

Since the beginning of the invasion, Khorunzhyi reported, the Armed Force’s bomb squads have removed some 464,000 mines and other explosives across the country, including 3,145 unexploded aerial bombs. Ukrinform said that most of the efforts are concentrated on the Donetsk, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, and Kherson regions.

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The Ministry of Economy reported recently that a half-million acres of Ukrainian land has been demined to date, with sappers working at a rate of about 7,000 acres per day.

Much potentially deadly terrain remains: As reported by Ukrinform, the regional military administrative chief of Mykolaiv estimated that some 1.85 million acres, or about one-third of his region’s territory, still needs to be scanned and cleared.

Most of that work will have to wait until spring, at least. Snow cover makes it difficult or even impossible to detect and neutralize the mines, Khorunzhy said.

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