MAG is to be tasked with clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance to enable the repair of catastrophic damage inflicted on Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure during the conflict with Russia.
Relentless attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure have caused over $10 billion in damages and left over 12 million people with no or limited electricity, according to a United Nations and World Bank report published in April this year, while also disrupting water supply and heating systems.
But a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy and MAG will enable the charity to carry out survey work and landmine & unexploded ordnance clearance in order for teams to access infrastructure and proceed to essential repairs to restore electricity supplies. MAG will also provide essential explosive ordnance risk education to the teams to help them identify potential threats.
Yaroslav Demchenkov, Deputy Minister for European Integration, was joined by Jon Cunliffe, MAG Country Director for Ukraine, to formalise the agreement during a signing ceremony in Kyiv on Tuesday 22 August 2023.
The ceremony was also attended by Herman Halushchenko, Minister of Energy of Ukraine as well as The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, during his visit to the Ukrainian capital.
With this MoU, MAG can now be tasked through the National Mine Action Centre with ensuring land used by critical energy infrastructure is safe and free from landmines and unexploded ordnance, including power substations, pylons, and pylon lines.
Russia’s attacks on energy distribution networks last winter caused significant disruption, affecting at one point up to 50% of the country’s energy consumption, leaving millions particularly vulnerable over the cold winter months. While significant efforts are underway to repair damaged infrastructure, the presence of landmines and explosive ordnance are a constant and deadly threat to anyone working in these areas.
Following the ceremony, Jon Cunliffe said, "We are proud that the Ukrainian government will entrust MAG with this critical task. We are determined that staff working tirelessly to ensure power can reach families across the country, can do so safely knowing that the land they are stepping on is free from explosive devices. With the winter fast approaching, time is of the essence."
Header photo © Ministry of Energy of Ukraine.