Updated: 28-May-2003 May 2003

27 May 2003


Landmine project closing ceremony in Ukraine

The last of 400,000 anti-personnel landmines were destroyed during a ceremony in Donetsk, in the south-east of Ukraine, on 27 May 2003.

The project for the destruction of Ukraine's stock of anti-personnel landmines (APLs) started in January 2002 with the aim of disassembling the mines using industrial processes at the Donetsk Chemical Plant.

Preparations at the Donetsk Chemical Plant included the refurbishment of buildings, installation of equipment and preparation of procedures. These were financed by the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) Trust Fund and were completed between February and June 2002. Mines were collected from 19 storage locations throughout Ukraine and transported to Donetsk by the Spivdruzhnist Scientific and Technical Centre (STC) between May and July 2002. NATO's Secretary General, Lord Robertson, formally opened the process lines in July 2002 and full production began in September.

Demilitarisation is achieved by reverse engineering of the mines using a combination of manual and automated techniques designed by the Spivdruzhnist STC. Explosives recovered from the process were recycled to make commercial explosives for use by Ukraine industry. Plastics from the mines were recycled to manufacture children’s toys.

This is the first step in destroying Ukraine’s stockpile of almost seven million APLs. Canada is the lead nation for the project, supported by financial contributions from Hungary, Poland and the Netherlands. The NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) is the Executing Agency, implementing the project by establishing contracts with the Ukraine Ministry of Defence and the Spivdruzhnist STC. A second PfP Trust Fund project to destroy 130,000 tonnes of conventional munitions in Ukraine is in the early stages of development.

NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) Trust Fund was established in September 2000 with the aim of assisting PfP countries with the safe destruction of their stocks of anti-personnel landmines. In May 2001 the policy was amended to include the destruction of small arms, light weapons and their munitions. The policy provides a framework for the development of initiatives on a project-by-project basis.

Projects in Albania, Moldova and Ukraine have already been established under this policy umbrella. Further projects are under preparation in Serbia-Montenegro, Albania, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

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