21 Jan 2022 10:47

Russian sappers defused nearly 2,000 U.S.-made air-dropped bombs on 130 hectares in Laos

MOSCOW. Jan 21 (Interfax) - Russian sappers have cleared more than 130 hectares of land in Laos of unexploded munitions in the past four years, disposing of over 2,000 explosive items, Russian Engineering Forces Commander Yury Stavitsky said.

"In all, more than 130 hectares of territory have been cleared of unexploded munitions since 2018. Over 2,000 explosive items, mostly U.S.-made cluster air-dropped bombs, have been found and destroyed," Stavitsky said in an interview with the Russian Defense Ministry's Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.

As reported, by the Russian president's decision, sappers of the Russian Defense Ministry's International Mine Action Center have performed November-March humanitarian mine clearance missions in Laos for the fourth consecutive year. Thirty-one Russian sappers arrived in Laos in November 2021.

"Mines have already been removed from over 12 hectares. But it is not only about the figures. The mine clearance operation is being conducted scrupulously, without haste. This task requires the presence of cool-headedness and composure," Stavitsky said.

The mine clearance mission is Laos is complicated by its adverse hot climate, its dense tropical forests, the presence of scores of insects and venomous snakes, the fact that unexploded munitions may be planted as deep as 170 centimeters below ground, and the presence of a large quantity of ferromagnetic materials, a circumstance that seriously affects the pace of search efforts.

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier that the sapper mission dispatched to Laos in November had reached the Nakai district in the Khammouane Province, where they would clear mines "both in the jungle and in populated localities where local residents are still at risk of encountering 50-year-old unexploded munitions."