Since a long time there is a well-established bilateral partnership between Sweden a Ukraine. The Swedish government has commissioned the Swedish Armed Forces to continue implementing defense-related cooperation with Ukraine in 2020 within the framework of the country’s security sector reform.
In 2019 the Ukrainian military attaché to Sweden, colonel Serhii Harbarenko, visited Swedec together with representatives from the Ukrainian armed forces. The purpose of the meeting was to have a dialogue about extended bilateral cooperation between Swedec and Ukraine in the field of demining.
The action plan that was developed during the meeting was later determined by a government decision in December 2019. The task to Swedec 2020 was to give demining training for the Ukrainian armed forces and support Ukraine establishment of two national demining centers.
DEMINING TRAINING IN EKSJÖ
For three weeks Swedec has completed a demining training for personnel from Ukrainian armed forces. The training aimed at increasing the ability to handle the prevailing complex ammunition and mine situation along the eastern border of Ukraine. The training has included risk awareness, localization, identification, marking and clearing of mines and ammunition.
ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL DEMINING STRUCTURE
Today several Ukrainian agencies are involved in national mine action activities and Ukraine is now establishing a new demining law. The law entails, among other things, the establishment of two national demining centers for coordination of the Ukrainian agencies.
During a one-week workshop Swedec hosted representatives of Ukraine´s mine action program. Swedec shared experiences related to its role as a national center of excellence in the Swedish society. Most of the time was spent discussing cooperation and coordination between authorities involved, using Sweden as a role model. It was an intense week including dialogues, sharing of experiences and cooperation.
"It has been a good week and together we have built a stabile platform for our continuing bilateral cooperation in the field of ammunition and mine clearance", tells Sherii Matveichuk Ukrainian armed forces.
The Ukrainian delegation consisted of Ihor Herasymenko – parliamentarian, Serhii Zubarevskyi – colonel at the Ministry of Defense and Sherii Matveichuk - lieutenant colonel at the Ukrainian General Staff. All three with key roles in the implementation of a new demining law, the formation of a new demining structure and the establishment of two new national demining centers. In addition, colonel Serhii Harbarenko – Ukraine’s military attaché to Sweden, also participated.
THE WAY AHEAD
The activities that are planned for 2021 can be divided into two areas, to increase the operational demining capacity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and to support and act as mentors in the Ukrainian formation of a national demining structure and the establishment of two national demining centers.
Swedec is an internationally acknowledged actor with broad and extensive experience in the field of explosive ordnance disposal and demining. The support that the Swedish Armed Forces trough Swedec is giving to Ukraine is of great importance for the country to be able to deal with the difficult mine situation.
"It’s a great honor that Ukraine turns to Sweden and Swedec for support and we can see that our experience and knowledge in the field is useful for Ukraine", tells lieutenant colonel Fredrik Johnsson deputy commanding officer of Swedec and responsible for the center’s support to Ukraine.