It is not the first time NATO passes equipment to the regional Emergency Service. This set of demining equipment provides new cards and working suits, which will help to demine the territories in the East Ukraine in the nearest decade.
Kyiv, August 23, 2016. The Main Directorate of Donetsk Regional Emergency Service received the latest demining equipment from NATO. “They provided pyrotechnic cars, special suits, bullet-proof vests, plunge batteries, personal protective equipment, tents and sleeping bags for extra-low temperatures. Our pyrotechnic unit is equipped by 80 per cent now,” said Kostyantyn Apalkov, Captain of Civil Defense of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Donetsk region, at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center within the framework of UCMC project “Spokesman of Peaceful Life”, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany. The total cost of the equipment is about UAH 9 million. “This is a great cooperation between NATO and the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and this is not the first time when such equipment was provided,” added Iryna Perkova, coordinator of Crisis Media Center in Mariupol.
Among the equipment there is the newest suit for deminers. “It protects deminers from injuries by shrapnel and shock waves. Previously, we had Soviet-style costumes, KC1 and KC 2 – in fact, a bag made of Kevlar. And this suit is rationalized, with air conditioning. This allows deminers to work even when it is hot. Secondly, it is much lighter and, in addition, has its own lighting system,” said Captain Apalkov. They also provided special clothes for work on water facilities and lifting ammunition out of the water. According to Captain Apalkov, such instances are also quite common.
Instead of UAZ cars of the 70-80s which “broke more often than ran”, now engineers received four Ford Ranger cars – wagons for transporting personnel and equipment. There are also sets for inspection of areas, including less accessible, and withdrawal of explosive devices. “I have not seen such analogues yet,” said Kostyantyn Apalkov. The unit also received two large fire trucks purchased out of public funds.
Captain Apalkov’s unit now has 25 deminers. Half of the group is working in the north of the region, the other – in the south. “All personnel have been working here since ATO started. All have fairly rich experience. Sometimes we cope with the work, sometimes we do not. But usually we do,” he said. There are also other units seconded to the contact line from different regions of Ukraine.
Kostyantyn Apalkov said that since the beginning of ATO they had found and destroyed 46,127 units of explosive devices in Donetsk region. “Everything that we dealt with is marked before the 1990s. We have not found anything newer so far,” he noted. According to him, the entire demining of ATO zone will take 10 years or, maybe, longer. “This war will re-echo for a long time. No wonder, they say that one year of the war is 5 years deminers work,” stated the captain.
According to him, there were no accidents that resulted in wounding and killing of children because of explosions during the summer. “We constantly speak in schools and kindergartens, extracurricular programs were conducted all the summer. When children were in summer camps, we visited them to tell and show them how to behave in case a suspicious object was found,” said Kostyantyn Apalkov. They organized this work in cooperation with teachers. When a new school year starts, work with schoolchildren will continue.