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TOPIC: russian war

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

A Careful Tour With Ukrainians Clearing The World's Largest Minefield

Leading Austrian dailyDer Standard has been following Ukrainian teams braving constant danger to clear the largest minefield in the world.

LUKIANIVKA — Olga Yakimovich says she has always enjoyed working with people and wanted to pursue a career in the food industry. Her plan was to run a little café – but that was in another life, before fighting broke out around her home in the Donbas region in 2014.

Like most people here in eastern Ukraine, her life has been thrown off course, the 35-year-old explains, as she walks through the woods in the area around Kyiv, passing pretty summer houses and fruit trees. Dotted in between are signs warning about mines.

“I wanted to make a difference,” says Yakimovich. Her brown hair is plaited under her baseball cap, and she wears a radio attached to her sky-blue safety vest.

Six years ago, she decided to train as a deminer. Now she works as a supervisor for the British-American NGO Halo Trust, which clears landmines across the world. “The job is meaningful. It also pays well.”

Shortly after the organisation opened its first office in Yakimovich’s home city of Kramatorsk, her husband and sister followed in her footsteps. Her husband is now fighting on the frontline, while Yakimovich and her sister are working in liberated areas – far from the Donbas region, which they had to flee with their children.

The fact that the fields have been left to grow wild for a year and a half makes their work finding explosives with metal detectors more difficult, explains Yakimovich. “Whenever we find an object, we have to consider that there may be mines anywhere within a 25 meter radius.”

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Swan Lake In Kherson? Why Russia’s Future Is Looking So Dark

Ukrainians, Russians and much of the rest of the world are still trying to make sense of Moscow’s decision last week to abandon the southern city of Kherson. Do not, for certain, underestimate the significance.

Through the fog of war, we are beginning to see more clearly the significance of the Russian army’s stunning retreat from Kherson, territory that Vladimir Putin had declared his own with an annexation ceremony just a month before.

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Yes, events are accelerating. The war in Ukraine now appears suddenly to be heading toward its inevitable conclusion, and Putin toward his demise.

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