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Russian President Vladimir Putin has waged “economic terrorism” in Ukraine by stocking its farmlands and Black Sea ports full of explosive mines, an official working to de-mine Kyiv told Fox News.
“There’s 20 plus years of mining work already in Ukraine and for every day of war there’s an additional 30 days of mining work that will be required,” Cameron Chill, CEO of drone company Draganfly Inc. (DPRO), explained to Fox News upon his return from Kyiv.
Chill has been working with Ukraine’s emergency management services to deploy drones to efficiently detect buried mines left behind by Russian forces after they withdrew from areas surrounding Kyiv in late March.
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However, the drone expert said where Russian troops left the explosive devices says a lot about the war Putin is raging against its former Soviet neighbor.
“We were shown some fields that there just seemed to be no reason to bomb them. There wasn’t even real action in the area, according to what we were told,” Chill described. “Fact is, if you just go and inadvertently bomb hectares and hectares [of land] – that’s unusable.
“It becomes unusable, unproductive land, and it would appear that it is some sort of economic terrorism,” he added.
The war in Ukraine has dragged on for more than four months. In April, Russian officials said Moscow’s ambition in Ukraine was to gain “full control” over its eastern and southern regions, though Kremlin officials only made this announcement after first failing to take Kyiv following a month’s worth of fighting.
Officials on the ground have argued this war is about more than gaining back former Soviet territory – its about crippling Kyiv.
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Chill said Ukrainians remain steadfast in their determination to fend off Russia’s offensive.
“There’s a very pragmatic approach to ‘Okay, what does this really mean over the next year, three years, five years, 10 years’,” he said. “I didn’t come across anybody that had an expectation that this was going to be done by Christmas.
“The morale is resilient,” Chill added.
The number of landmines Russian forces deployed across Ukraine remains unknown, but by mid-May Ukrainian authorities had reported a whopping 80,000 mines and other explosive ordnance that had already been found, recorded, and disabled.
“Ukraine is now by far the most mined country in the world,” Chill said.
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Draganfly’s drone technology cannot detect underwater mines yet, but its ability to find and record landmine locations is not only a safer method, but could speed up the de-mining process by up to 40%.
Drone technology is also being looked into to help disable mines, though the expert said the most effective way of removing the threat of underground explosives is still by training personnel to individually disable the bombs.