Development of domestic production and innovations in the field of demining will accelerate the country’s clearing, says Yulia Svyrydenko at the first International Defence Industries Forum

Innovations and production of demining equipment and machinery in Ukraine are the keys to faster clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance from the territory of our country. This was the subject of a discussion panel at the first International Defence Industries Forum in Kyiv dedicated to humanitarian demining.

As Yuliia Svyrydenko, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Economy of Ukraine, noted in her speech, about 170,000 square kilometres of Ukraine’s territory are potentially contaminated. Humanity has not faced challenges of this scale since the Second World War. And there are no ready-made solutions on how to quickly clean up such areas. Therefore, Ukraine cannot afford to delay the demining process for decades or even centuries, as some experts point out. Instead, the goal is to return 80% of potentially contaminated areas to use in ten years.

“That is why we are making efforts in several key areas at once. Building the capacity of government agencies – the SES and the SSTS. Creating and stimulating the development of the demining services market. Cooperation with donors and partners. The next key areas are the development of the production of demining machinery and equipment in Ukraine and the development and introduction of innovations. During the war, Ukraine proved to be a very innovative country. We will do our best to support and develop production and innovation in the demining sector as well,” said Yuliia Svyrydenko.

During the panel discussion, representatives of Ukrainian and foreign companies spoke about their plans to manufacture and supply special equipment for demining needs.

In particular, Gordan Pešić, a member of the Board of Croatian DOK-ING, noted that the company, according to a memorandum signed in June with the Ukrainian manufacturer, had already localised 20% of its production in Ukraine and planned to increase this figure. The company will also supply the contracted number of demining machines to Ukraine by the end of the year and provide spare parts for machines operating in Ukraine.

In turn, Ukrainian manufacturers spoke about their achievements. Thus, AvtoKrAZ will complete the production of the first Ukrainian demining vehicle based on a foreign-made bulldozer within three months. The project is being implemented with the financial and expert support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and can be quickly scaled up – the manufacturer’s facilities can handle it. While Pozhmashina company, which signed a memorandum of understanding with Hydrema of Denmark to localise the production of demining machines in the summer, has designed special armoured vehicles to transport demining equipment.

The first International Defence Industries Forum in Kyiv brought together more than 30 countries and over 250 defence companies. Opening the large-scale event, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the creation of the Alliance of Defence Industries. According to the Head of State, Ukraine is also developing a special economic regime for the defence industry and will create a special Defence Fund to provide additional resources, in particular for the development of military production.