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Ukraine to receive crowdfunded demining vehicle from Slovakia

The Božena-5 is a remote-controlled tracked vehicle designed to destroy anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. It can withstand blasts equivalent to 9kg of TNT.
Božena-5 mine-clearing vehicle. Credit: Ukrainian Foreign Ministry
Ukraine to receive crowdfunded demining vehicle from Slovakia

A crowdfunding campaign in Slovakia has raised enough money to purchase a mine-clearing vehicle called the Božena-5 for Ukraine, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced.

The campaign was organized by the Ukrainian Embassy in Slovakia, the Slovak Mier Ukrajine group, and the Darček pre Putina (Gift to Putin) project. The groups collected approximately 650,000 euros, according to Darček pre Putina.

The Slovak manufacturer of the Božena-5 will now produce a vehicle for Ukraine. By the end of 2022, the mine clearer is expected to be delivered to its recipient, likely in Ukraine’s Kherson region, where similar vehicles already operate.

“Soon, the Slovakian manufacturer of demining machines, The Way Industries, will produce the Božena-5 and ship it to Ukraine by the end of this year,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

PM Shmyhal at Demine Ukraine Forum: $37 bn and 10,000 deminers needed for Ukrainian mine cleanup

The crowdfunding began on 8 May, the Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in World War II, and concluded on 21 September. Donors from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and other countries contributed, along with the online community NAFO and Peace Ukraine Initiative organization.

The Taiwanese government also made a major donation of 100,000 euros. The funds will cover not just the Božena-5 itself but also operator training, additional equipment, transportation costs, and a truck to deliver it.

The Božena-5 is a remote-controlled tracked vehicle that uses a rotating flail to detonate or destroy anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. It can withstand blasts equivalent to 9kg of TNT.

Such demining vehicles are urgently needed in Ukraine, where over 174,000 square kilometers of territory are strewn with landmines that have already injured 780 civilians.

During the Demine Ukraine Forum in Kyiv on 28 September, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine needs $37 billion and 10,000 deminers for mine cleanup.

“According to the World Bank estimate, cleaning the mined territory will require spending over $37 billion. These figures are as of today, with a note that this is the territory currently controlled by Ukraine,” Shmyhal stated.

On 29 September, the Swiss government announced that it approved a CHF 100 million package (about $109 million) to help clear landmines and other explosive ordnance in Ukraine over the next four years.

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