June 19, 2024

As Ukraine remains the world’s most heavily mined nation, the U.K. Army has stepped up training Ukrainian engineers at a military base in Poland, helping them clear large anti-tank mines, smaller anti-personnel mines, and other deadly devices planted by Russian forces.

This training started last November with each course lasting a few weeks. It typically includes “just a few dozen experienced Ukrainian sappers,” according to BBC.

Russia has been producing and laying mines on an industrial scale with the mines now scattered over an area the size of Florida. The minefields can be up to 10 kilometers deep, according to BBC, and one square meter can contain as many as five explosives.

The concentration of mines in Russian-occupied regions has slowed Ukraine’s counteroffensive, limiting territorial gains in the east and south. Ukraine hopes that with enhanced mine clearance training, it becomes easier to liberate occupied territories.

Staff Sgt Kevin Engstrom told BBC that the British are teaching the Ukrainian troops the gold standard of mine clearance, which involves time and patience. He adds, however, that “…if your immediate threat is gunfire, you can’t always be slow and methodical.”

The British trainers also comment on the speed of the Ukrainian soldiers: “They’re very quick. The first time I deployed to Afghanistan I was slow. They don’t miss much,” Staff Sgt Engstrom said.

“Their work is impressive with the kit they’ve been given,” he added.

Read also: Ukraine war latest: Zelensky praises new American aid package as ‘historic’

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