Ukrainian minister says it ‘will take years’ to defuse the unexploded shells Russian forces fired at Ukraine: report


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  • A Ukrainian minister told The AP that it will take years to defuse any unexploded shells in Ukraine.
  • A large number of shells have not exploded, according to Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky.
  • Mines placed at bridges and airports to deter Russian forces from firing shells will also have to be defused, he said.

A Ukrainian minister warned it will take years to defuse the unexploded shells and mines that will be left behind in Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

“A huge number of shells and mines have been fired at Ukraine, and a large part haven’t exploded,” Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said in an interview on Friday with The Associated Press. “They remain under the rubble and pose a real threat.”

“It will take years, not months, to defuse them,” Monastyrsky added.

Ukrainian soldiers also placed land mines at various structures across the country in an effort to prevent Russian forces from advancing and firing shells, he told The AP. There are mines scattered throughout bridges and airports.

The effort to remove those mines and defuse the shells will require assistance from Western countries, he said.

“We won’t be able to remove the mines from all that territory, so I asked our international partners and colleagues from the European Union and the United States to prepare groups of experts to de-mine the areas of combat and facilities that came under shelling,” Monastyrsky said.

Ukraine and Russia have been at war for more than three weeks now, and there’s still no sign of Russia retreating.

So far, more than 3.3 million Ukrainians have fled since the beginning of the invasion, according to data from the United Nations Refugee Agency. Just in the first week alone, more than 1 million Ukrainians fled the country.

“The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused destruction of civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties and has forced people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance,” the agency said, estimating that as many as 4 million might leave in the coming weeks.

As Russia continues its advance into Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers are still waging a difficult battle. The Ukrainian army said on Friday that its soldiers have mounted a defense of Kyiv by blocking off two vital routes into the capital city.

“As of today, the enemy has been stopped at a distance of almost 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) from the city’s right bank, which makes it impossible to carry out fire, except for rocket fire. On the left bank, the advance has [also] been stopped. The enemy is cynically shooting at our infrastructure facilities. [But] the main ways of attack are blocked,” said Oleksandr Hruzevych, deputy chief of staff.