Ukrainian Engineers Train with British Experts to Tackle Russian Mines


Ukrainian individuals are adapting rapidly to the techniques of mine clearing, as observed by British Staff Sgt Kevin Engstrom. Ukrainian engineers are being guided by expert British military bomb disposal teams to clear minefields set by Russia.

Regrettably, Ukraine is now the most heavily impacted country globally with mines, causing hinders in military advances. So, the training being imparted by Britain’s combat engineers was swiftly demanded by Ukraine. These engineers themselves have confronted alike challenges in Afghanistan.

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It was the BBC that first managed to set a foot inside the military base in Poland where the ongoing training is held. On the battleground in Ukraine, a majority of the engineers, like Denys, have already cast off their novice status and gained experience.

Denys recognises Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) as the world’s riskiest job and urgently calls for more combat engineers. Candidly, he shares that they are not sufficiently stocked with resources, unveiling his longing for extensive help from the West. This is particularly evident in the fact that even if the ongoing strife were to cease instantly, it would take centuries to clear the embarked mines.

More than 20 dummy devices have been hidden in a field by British EOD experts from the 35 Engineer Regiment as part of the training challenge. The hideaway contains various kinds of weaponry, such as anti-tank mines, bounding mines, and anti-personnel devices, among others. Staff Sgt Kevin Engstrom from Britain acknowledges that they are adhering to the utmost standards in mine clearance techniques, involving patience and time.

In the continually evolving threat scenario, Ukrainians like Denys are now accustomed to finding booby-trapped bodies of dead Russian soldiers. This includes cleverly hidden trip wires in grass, mines hung from trees, or anti-personnel mines placed on larger vehicle mines to trigger devastating explosions.

In the face of such grim challenges, the Ukrainian combat engineers employ Vallons, akin to metal detectors, for initial path clearance, assisted by the 1,500 Vallons provided to Ukraine by Britain. Ihor, with four years of experience as a sapper, underscores the challenge lies not in disarming the mines, a task he is already familiar with, but in deducing where minefields might be placed.

Despite the increasing risks, Ihor reinforces the tenacity of the Ukrainian sappers, acknowledging that losses are inevitable but they are resolved to proceed. British training instructors harbour hopeful sentiments that such training will decrease fatalities among the Ukrainians.

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