A US official said on Tuesday that the US State Department approved US $89 million for US aid to help Ukraine equip and train 100 teams to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance for a year. The funding is the largest US government program in the country since the American war in 1960 and 70 s in Southeast Asia.
If you look at some conflict in the not-so distant past, the Vietnam War, for example, we're still clearing ordnance in Southeast Asia 50 years after that war ended. The official said that this may be on par with that.
The programme would be run through contractors and non-governmental organisations, the official said. He said that the money will not only fund training but specialised mine detection and earth moving equipment if need be, as part of Ukraine-linked budget requests.
A Ukrainian official said the aid addressed one of the country's most important tasks. According to our estimates, 160,000 sq km of Ukrainian land needs demining, which is roughly the size of Virginia, Maryland and Connecticut combined, said Andriy Yermak, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's top aide.
In a Telegram post, Zelenskyy's chief of staff said this aid will speed up the recovery of Ukraine.
The US has provided more than $4.2 billion in aid to over 100 countries from 1993 to 2021, according to a State Department report.
The United States is the world's largest weapons exporter.