Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the hostilities with Russia made the country the largest minefield in the world, occupying more than 40% of its territory.
“The hostilities in Ukraine created a minefield of about 250,000 square kilometers, which not only made it difficult to move around but also disrupted vital agricultural activities,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told Yonhap in Kyiv in an interview published by the government.
The size that Mr. Smyhal gives is larger than the entire Korean peninsula, Laos, Romania, or Britain. Prime Minister Smyhal also accused Russia of “targeting infrastructure in densely populated areas.”
Residential areas suffered most of the damage, while industrial complexes, power grids, steel plants, chemicals, and transport infrastructure were also targeted.
This is the first time Prime Minister Shmyhal has given an interview to an Asian news agency since the outbreak of hostilities. He also looked forward to receiving help from Korea’s mine clearance experience, skills, and equipment.
The Kremlin has not yet commented on Mr. Smyhal’s comments.
Landmines and explosive remnants of war have haunted generations of victims, maiming and killing countless civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other countries, even decades after the treaty’s peace is signed.
In Ukraine, these pitfalls also afflict civilians, who have waited for their city to be liberated but are seriously injured or killed in explosions from unexploded ordnance.
“This is more terrible than missiles because we do not have anti-mine systems that limit the threat to some extent like air defense systems,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Ukraine’s economy suffered heavy losses due to the war. The country’s GDP in 2022 will decrease by 30.4% compared to 2021. As of early June 2022, the World Bank (WB) estimated the total economic damage to be up to 350 billion USD.
Prime Minister Shmyhal predicted losses would reach $700 billion this year but insisted Ukraine’s economy was working. The government still develops subsidy programs for small and medium-sized businesses while not paying late wages.
After more than 10 months of fighting, the Russia-Ukraine war was recently considered a stalemate when the warring parties failed to make significant progress.
After withdrawing from many areas in the face of a quick Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russian forces strengthened their defenses. They stepped up their attacks on several cities, such as the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.