The Creative Ways Ukraine Finds and Detonates Russian Land Mines

  • Soldiers in Ukraine rely on creative tools to identify and detonate Russian land mines.
  • Troops told The New York Times those tools included dead animals, fiberglass rods, ropes, and hooks. 
  • Russian land mines could pose a long-term threat to Ukrainian civilians.

Ukrainian soldiers are using a variety of tools — from conventional to creative — in order to identify and detonate Russian land mines.

Troops have relied on nearby dead animals to locate booby traps, while fiberglass rods have come in handy for electrically triggered mines, according to The New York Times. For trickier explosives, mine specialists will take atypical approaches to detonation, including using a rope and grappling hook to snare trip wires from a distance. 

The latter is especially important for explosives like the claymore mine, which is designed to spray shrapnel at a wide range to hit and kill anyone nearby. “Everybody within 25 meters is guaranteed to die,” a Ukrainian lieutenant told the Times.

Landmines are a favorite tactic of the Russian military, which has planted thousands of land mines from its vast arsenal across Ukraine, resulting in hundreds of military and civilian casualties, according to Ukrainian officials, BBC News reported. The full range of explosives might be unimaginable. The UN estimates that an area four times as large as Switzerland is now potentially unsafe, the Times reported. 

Earlier this month, the World Bank estimated that de-mining Ukraine would cost more than $37 billion. 

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