1 October 2018, Kyiv – The Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Ms. Osnat Lubrani expresses her sincere condolences to the family of three children killed, and one child injured, by explosive remnants in eastern Ukraine. Ms. Lubrani appeals for immediate action to protect millions of people who face daily risks due to the extensive landmine and explosive ordnance contamination.

“I am saddened by the deaths of three young boys and wounding of another, in a recent landmine explosion in eastern Ukraine,” says Ms. Lubrani. “It is unacceptable that children face such lethal risks when playing with their friends or attending school. I express my deepest condolences to their families and loved ones.”

Large stretches of populated areas in eastern Ukraine, particularly hundreds of settlements along the 427-km “contact line” are contaminated with landmines and explosive ordnance. Two million people risk death and maiming every day to access markets, schools, hospitals and farmlands. Every month, landmines curtail the safe movement of over a million civilian crossings of the “contact line”.

Today, landmines and explosive remnants of war are one of the highest causes of civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine, with 92 men, women and children killed or injured since January 2018. “I urge all parties to take the necessary measures to avoid using landmines, especially in populated areas and close to civilian infrastructure such as homes, schools and medical facilities,” stresses Ms. Lubrani.

Ms. Lubrani pays tribute to the progress that is being made to address landmine contamination in eastern Ukraine. “There are many brave women and men who are risking their lives to clear landmines from populated areas,” says Ms Lubrani. “In the first half of 2018, humanitarian mine-risk education programmes alone have supported over 20,000 people, including 10,000 children to avoid the risks of these deadly hazards. I am however increasingly concerned with the psychosocial impact of the protracted conflict on the people, especially the trauma of living each day with unpredictable lethal risks from widespread landmine and unexploded ordnance contamination.”

“We have seen from other crises that landmines and explosive remnant contamination often injure and kill civilians for many years after a conflict ends, undermining development gains,”Ms. Lubrani notes. “I therefore call for the urgent adoption of an appropriate legal framework on mine action in Ukraine and the establishment of a national coordination mechanism according to the International Mine Action Standards, so that the humanitarian programmes and demining efforts can be significantly upscaled.”

Ms. Lubrani concludes by stressing the urgent need for funding support for the humanitarian efforts in eastern Ukraine. “I am concerned that our humanitarian activities are funded at only a third of the required amount and so I call on Member States to stand in solidarity with the people of eastern Ukraine and support our tireless humanitarian efforts,” she concludes.

For further information, please contact:

Valijon Ranoev, OCHA Ukraine: ranoev@un.org, tel. +38 050 422-3943