KHARKIV OBLAST, Feb 5  — No foreign non-resident company has been certified for demining in Ukraine, Yevhen Ivanov, deputy head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, told Gwara Media.

He said that companies such as “HALO Trust,” the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, or the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation only inspect the areas and pass on information to the State Emergency Service, police, or the Ministry of Defence, which conducts demining.

“The work standards of foreign demining companies in Ukraine and the world are quite different. Therefore, a company not certified by Ukrainian law cannot guarantee the quality of its work in this territory. If there is certification, there will be permits. Then we can talk about guarantees,” the official said.

As of the beginning of December 2023, 24 humanitarian demining organizations were certified in Ukraine, and six were certified the year before. Among the certified organizations are both international organizations and Ukrainian commercial operators, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine said in response to a request from Gwara Media.

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The largest demining area is in the Kherson oblast. The State Emergency Service also demined large areas in the Kharkiv and Mykolaiv oblasts.

In Kharkiv Oblast, 570,000 hectares of land are potentially mined. At the current pace, it will take more than 100 years to demine the oblast completely, said Yevhen Ivanov.