Project to destroy obsolete munitions in Ukraine enters second phase
A signing ceremony to launch the second phase of a NATO-sponsored project for the destruction of conventional munitions, small arms and light weapons in Ukraine took place in Kyiv on 1 February.
Ukraine possesses large numbers of old and obsolete weapons and munitions accumulated since the Second World War, which pose a potential threat not only to Ukraine, but also far beyond its borders.
“These ammunitions are unlikely to be ever removed from Ukraine, but they can provoke a large-scale man-made catastrophe, as many arsenals and depots are located in the vicinity of important industrial facilities, including nuclear power plants,” explained Vasyl Lytvynchuk, NATO Support Agency (NSPA) Project Manager for Ukraine.
The project’s second phase notably concerns the destruction of a large number of PFM-1 (1C) antipersonnel landmines. Along with Mr Lytvynchuk, several high-level officials attended the contract signing ceremony at the NATO Liaison Office in Kyiv, including Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Arturo Babenko, the defence ministry’s director for rocket fuel, missile and ammunition disposal, Serhiy Brul, and Director General of the Ukrainian state-owned scientific and production company Pavlograd Chemical Plant Leonid Shyman. Representatives of the United States Embassy in Ukraine were also present.
“Today we signed what I see as an important agreement to safely destroy landmines. The quicker we conclude this work, the sooner we will be able to get rid of surplus weapons and munitions, which were dumped in Ukraine from all over ex-USSR,” said Arturo Babenko.
Led by the United States, this second phase is expected to receive a contribution of around €25 million from the international community. At this stage, 73,500 tons of conventional munitions, 366,000 small arms and 3 million PFM-1 antipersonnel landmines are earmarked for destruction.
Launched in 2006 and successfully completed in early 2012, the first phase of this NATO-Partnership Trust Fund project saw the safe destruction of 15 tons of ammunitions, 400,000 small arms and light weapons and 1000 man-portable air defence systems with international financial support equalling €10.8 million.