Debate on Ukraine – No soldiers, but two million euros for demining

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On Friday, the government reaffirmed that it would not send Austrian soldiers to Ukraine to clear mines. The “International Trust Fund” (ITF) will be supported with two million euros, which will then help Ukraine clear mines, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) said on Friday. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) added that in this humanitarian aid it was important to adhere to the “strictest interpretation of neutrality”.

At a “demining summit” in the Reich Chancellery, Nehammer emphasized that it would be better to support institutions with experience in clearing mines than to send equipment yourself. Because it also depends on which mines have been laid. The ITF could then work locally with the Ukrainian civil protection agency.

No military in Ukraine
In any case, Austrian soldiers are excluded from mine clearance in Ukraine. In order not to risk an escalation of the war, there are currently no soldiers from any EU country on Ukrainian territory, Nehammer stressed.

The Chancellor recalled that 30 percent of Ukrainian territory is being mined. That is an area twice the size of Austria. Demining Ukraine is therefore an enormous challenge.

Kogler: “Children are particularly threatened by mines”
For Kogler, it is clear that Austria must remain neutral in all its endeavours: “To be neutral does not mean to stand idly by when such dangers need to be averted – for example, when children are killed.” Because especially children are more affected by the mine than others affected.

But farmers who want to work their fields must also be helped to clear the mines. It is also about food safety. It is therefore correct that mine clearance is primarily carried out around residential buildings, kindergartens, schools and on agricultural land.

Source: Krone

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