DANGER! MINES!CABINET OF MINISTERS OF UKRAINE APPROVED REGULATIONSOF MARKING MINE AND ERW HAZARDS, DEVELOPED BY MTOT
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved Regulations of marking mine and explosive remnants of war(ERW) hazards* (further – Regulations), developed by the Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons (MTOT)
Regulations are the first bylaw approved by Government after Law of Ukraine «Mine Action in Ukraine» was adopted by Verkhovna Rada in December 2018. They are accepted for execution of Ukraine`s international obligations and follow the provisions of International Mine Action Standards.
Until now, Ukraine did not have a unified mine and ERW hazard marking system.National and international organizations used various markers, methods and systems without taking into account condition of terrain, landscape, climate and needs of the local population, etc.
From now on,subject to generally binding Regulations which establishedfollowing unified requirements for mine and ERW hazards marking system:
- warning signs of suspected hazardous areas;
- description and examples of using improvised stone marking systems for hazardous areas and physicalbarrierfences;
- act of acceptance-delivery system of marking hazardous areas.
Regulations are used to designate hazardous areas by State Emergency Service units, local executive authorities, local authorities, state or international organizations that implement projects and programs on mine action.
At the state and local level, the issue of marking hazardous areas will now be included in mine risk education.
Regulations adopted by Government stipulate the need to introduce measures to exclude civilians in dangerous areas, which include:
- warnings, awareness-raising and educational activities among civilians on mine-related hazards;
- marking, fencing and monitoring of hazardous areas.
Regulations also define categories of marking systems and their fencing:
- permanent (with unlimited use, requiring maintenance)
- temporary (set and used a certain period of time in preparation for clearance operations in order to mark the perimeter of hazardous area);
- improvised (should it be impossible to establish permanent or temporary marking systems of hazardous area, locally available materials should be used; and replaced withtemporary permanent marking systems as soon as possible).
Regulations set unified requirements for warning signs to be followed by authorities, national and international organizations that carry out mine action activities.
Requirements for warning signs are as follows: clarity, resistance to weather conditions, and comprehensibilitythat will be recognized nationally and locally.
Warning signs must be placed to mark the perimeter of hazardous area at such a distance so a civilian could see it from any point of approach.
However, Regulations prohibit when establishing temporary permanent marking systems usage of remnants of ammunition, boxes or other materials that could contain explosives, as well as those that were decommissioned.
In addition, Regulations set out a description and examples of improvised marking systems, in particular, using painted stones, and a physicalbarrierfences.
Regulations also provide that after installation of a permanent marking system, it is transferred to local executive authorities or local authorities for further maintenance.Markingsystem is dismantled after completion of clearance operations from mine contamination.
Regulations state that individuals who have damaged or destroyed elements of marking systems or use them for purposes other than intended, are liable in accordance with the law.
In the east of Ukraine, areas contaminated by mines and explosives are measured in thousands of square kilometers, and necessary funding for clearance operation is measured in billions of hryvnias. It is not possible to conduct quick demining operation; however, these areas pose a constant danger to local population.
In such circumstances, measures to inform the population and the proper marking of hazardous areas are urgent and extremely important for the preservation of human life and health.
* Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine from 17th April 2019 № 372 «Approval of Regulations of marking mine and Explosive Remnants of War hazards»