Plenkovic: Croatia to help Ukraine with another € 5m for mine clearance

Croatia will provide another five million euros for mine clearance in Ukraine, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced at the International Donor Conference on Mine Action in this war-torn country, which opened in Zagreb on Wednesday.

“Tomorrow, the government will adopt a decision on an additional five million euros, which is Croatia’s contribution as the host of the International Conference on Mine Action in Ukraine,” Plenkovic said.

The PMВ recalled that Croatia had experience with mine clearance because “just like Ukraine, it was a victim of aggression” in the early 1990s. The mine clearance process in Croatia has been going on for decades, so Ukraine should also prepare for a long duration of this process, he added.

“Croatia will fully complete the demining process in the spring of 2026, 31 years later,” Plenkovic emphasized.

In addition to financial resources, Croatia will use its experience to help Ukraine both in demining and in the prosecution of war crimes, the prime minister added.

Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic and Ukrainian Minister of Economy Yulia Svyrydenko signed the agreement on cooperation in mine action on Tuesday in order to mitigate socioeconomic, security, ecological and other consequences arising from the danger of explosive remnants of war.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal addressed the conference via video link, saying that Croatia, as a country that has recovered from the war, is an inspiration for Ukraine and gives it strength and confidence for the future.

Shmyhal said that today potentially 30 percent of the Ukrainian territory is contaminated by land mines, that is 174,000 square meters, which is three times the territory of Croatia.

Six million people are at risk from mines, 250 of them have been killed and 500 injured, he said.

The Ukrainian prime minister warned that experts predict that up to 10,000 people could be killed by land mines, and that the World Bank estimates that demining will cost more than $37 billion.

Ukraine currently has around 3,000 mine removal experts and 29 demining vehicles, he pointed out.

This is clearly not enough. If it remains as it is, it will take us decades to clear the country of mines, Shmyhal said, adding that countries and international organizations have donated around $300 million for this purpose.

For the demining process, Kyiv is looking for innovative technologies for remote inspection of the ground in order to rebuild the agricultural sector as soon as possible, and for as much demining equipment as possible.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius said that the European Commission has provided more than €43 million to Ukraine in the last year and a half, and that the EU and its member states are helping Ukraine in demining with more than €110 million.