UKRAINIAN DEMINING DOGS: PRESERVING LIFE AND HEALTH OF UKRAINIANS IN DANGER ZONE IN THE EAST OF UKRAINE
In April of this year, the Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, Vadym Chernysh visited a dog training center in Bosnia and Herzegovina that is carrying out demining education and training for dogs. The center is on provision from humanitarian organization Norwegian People's Aid.
For 23 years, the center has been teaching Belgian Shepherds to detect mines and explosive remnants of war (hereinafter ERW). Special method of dog training, practiced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, allow for two years training a dog to look for ERW and immediately involve dogs in the demining operation. Demining dogs show excellent performance: depending on the terrain, a dog handler (operator) with the dog is able to examine from 100 to 1000 sq.m. per day. Dogs react to the smell of chemical compounds that are used for explosives, so no explosive object is left unattended by the operator.
The experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina is only improving in this area, because for 23 years the skills and work with dogs have been improved to the maximum, not a single tragic event in the mine contaminated areas. It is extremely important for Ukraine to adopt the best practices and the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not an exception.
Interregional Center for Rapid Response of the SES of Ukraine (Center) is located in Romny, Sumy oblast, which has a dog training unit (K-9). Today such center was visited by Minister Vadym Chernysh and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Norway to Ukraine Ole Terje Horpestad.
Within the working trip, the representatives of SES acquainted the delegation with the work of the Center and dog training unit (K-9). The center has facilities that meet the requirements of qualified specialists training. As for now the center has trained 9 dogs that are attached to mine search operations in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and 13 search and rescue missions that are involved in the search for affected people due to emergencies.
As in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Belgian Shepherd Dogs are trained in the Center, but, besides them, German Shepherd Dogs and Labradors, as well are trained, because they are energetic, able to work for a long time and in the conditions of the Ukrainian climate. Dogs are trained on two levels. Class A is a search in the natural environment and class B is high-altitude inserting (more than two meters), or deep inserting.
During the meeting, the parties agreed on the possibility of bilateral exchange of experience. MTOT initiates this issue among partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina so that in the near future representatives of SES can learn the best practices that can then be used in Ukraine during demining operations on liberated territories in eastern Ukraine.
The Law of Ukraine “On Mine Action” was adopted in December 2018. The organization of the mine action system in Ukraine and the implementation of measures in this area is one of the priorities of the Cabinet of Ministers and public authorities of Ukraine. The government is working on the development of regulations to create a mine action system that will help preserve life and health of millions of Ukrainians who are in the danger zone in the East of Ukraine.