Press release | Date: 11/10/2023 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The widespread deployment of mines and cluster munitions in Ukraine has made it the most heavily mined country in the world today. Norway will more than double its support to efforts to clear mines laid in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s brutal war of aggression.
‘Clearing mines saves lives and protects civilians, especially children. Mine clearance is also essential to be able to provide other types of emergency assistance and rebuild infrastructure. Preventing further loss of life also helps to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to withstand Russia’s aggression,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt. The Norwegian Government has therefore decided to provide an additional NOK 200 million in funding earmarked for clearance of mines and other explosives in Ukraine.
Clearance of mines and other explosives is a key priority area both for the Ukrainians themselves and for Norwegian efforts in Ukraine. Ukraine’s own post-war recovery plan identifies humanitarian mine clearance as one of the top five priorities. The Ukrainian authorities will place particular focus on restoration of agricultural land and reconstruction of critical infrastructure.
Approximately 30 % of Ukraine’s land area is now littered with mines and unexploded ordnance. Demining is vital to enable Ukrainian farmers to cultivate their crops. Prior to Russia’s invasion, Ukraine was known as the breadbasket of the world. Now, hundreds of millions of people in vulnerable areas outside Ukraine are at risk of starvation due to the decline in Ukrainian grain production and attacks by Russia on Ukrainian ports and grain exports.
‘Russia’s military aggression on Ukrainian territory is affecting more than just Ukraine. It is threatening food security across the entire world,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.
Norway has provided NOK 164 million for mine clearance activities since Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine in February 2022. The Norwegian Government has now decided to increase its funding for humanitarian mine clearance activities significantly. The funds will be channelled through established mine clearance organisations including Norwegian People’s Aid, the HALO Trust and the UN system. The funds are being allocated under the Nansen Support Programme for Ukraine.
Norway has provided support for mine clearance activities in Ukraine since 2015 and has extensive experience with mine clearance in the area.
Norway has now provided more than NOK 4.5 billion in humanitarian support to Ukraine and the refugee response in neighbouring countries.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Eivind Vad Petersson will be taking part in the International Donor Conference on Humanitarian Demining in Ukraine to be held in Zagreb on 11 October. The conference will bring together the major donors to mine clearance efforts in Ukraine. The new NOK 200 million allocation from Norway will be announced at the conference.