Cambodia Trains Ukrainian Deminers to Clear UXOs

Ukrainian deminers are receiving training at CMAC’s Kampong Chhnang HQ on how to clear the landmines and other explosives that litter their war torn homeland
Opening ceremony of technical training on demining technologies for Ukraine. Kiripost/supplied
Opening ceremony of technical training on demining technologies for Ukraine. Kiripost/supplied

Cambodian deminers have started training their Ukrainian counterparts in Kampong Chhnang province to equip them with the skills needed to clear landmines and other explosives when they return home.

In cooperation with the Japanese government, Cambodia began the training of 15 deminers from Ukraine and two from Poland. They will learn how to safely clear deadly landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and explosive remnants of war (ERWs) that are a result of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

The training will continue until late January, said Heng Ratana, Director General of Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC). He added that another 20 Japanese deminers will also join the training.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, “Technical Training on Demining Technologies for State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU)”, Ratana said that Cambodia shares the tragedy of war and wants to show the successes of mine action with the Ukrainian people and government.

“Though the chronic war, which ended in late-1998, the legacy of war has left behind tragedy, the division of families and communities, and destruction of physical infrastructures, in particular the remaining ERW, such as millions of mines and UXOs that are the hidden killers scattered throughout Cambodia and a heavy burden on the people and the government,” Ratana said.

Ratana added that the training emerged as part of talk during the ASEAN summit in Cambodia in November, when Prime Minister Hun Sen and Japanese Prime Minister Kihida Fumio expressed strong commitments to support humanitarian mine action in Ukraine.

Ratana said that CMAC will provide training to Ukraine deminers on demining technologies, in particular a Japanese-made mine detection device, ALIS (Advanced Landmine Imaging System), supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

In a statement last week, CMAC said that the clearance of landmines and UXOs is a humanitarian issue that requires urgent action for the safety of citizens, as well as the restoration of urban function and agricultural land.

Moreover, clearance efforts require persistence and patience, as it takes a long time for people to feel safe and to restore livelihoods, CMAC said.

The Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh said on Monday that Japan is determined to contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine, and as a part of its efforts, it has decided to assist Ukraine in landmine clearance activities in collaboration with CMAC, which Japan has been supporting for a long time, as agreed by Prime Minister of Japan and Cambodia in November 2022.