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Russia Ukraine conflict

US approves $89 mln for Ukraine demining efforts

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The State Department announced Tuesday that it was planning to provide $89 million in funding to help Ukraine’s government deploy teams to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance, comparing the tactics used by Russia to those of ISIS.

“The grotesque use of improvised explosive devices in the manner that we are seeing in Ukraine by Russian actors was previously only associated with ISIS in Syria,” a State Department official said in a statement.

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The State Department blasted what it referred to as Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine. After beginning the invasion in February, the State Department said Russia has “littered massive swaths of the country with landmines, unexploded ordnance, and improvised explosive devices.”

Tuesday’s announcement will allow around 100 demining teams to be deployed, the State Department said.

Landmines in Ukraine are blocking fertile farmland, preventing displaced people from returning to their homes and delaying reconstruction efforts. “The Government of Ukraine estimates that 160,000 square kilometers of its land may be contaminated – this is roughly the size of Virginia, Maryland, and Connecticut combined,” the State Department official said.

Washington is the world’s largest financial support of conventional weapons destruction and has invested more than $4 billion since 1993 in demining efforts.

Read more: US announces $1 bln in military aid for Ukraine, one of largest weapons packages yet

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