Correspondents of the newspaper “Vesti” visited the Russian-Serbian humanitarian demining unit
In 2017, the Government of Republic of Serbia made a request to the Government of the Russian Federation to continue with providing assistance for humanitarian demining of Serbian lands and the Russian side confirmed its consent. In August of this year, on the basis of this decision, work began on cleaning up the territories nearby Cuprija community from explosive objects, the “Cuprija-1” project. The Demining Center (DC) of the Republic of Serbia, with the assistance of the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center (RSHC), prepared a project for the implementation of the planned activities, in which the controller role of the work and its quality was assigned to the DC.
The Russian Federation has been helping Serbia for humanitarian demining for 10 years already, using the forces and means of the Federal State Agency "Emercom" for this.
For the first time, Serbia addressed Russia for assistance in humanitarian demining in 2008 and at the same time the Emercom and the DC signed a Memorandum of understanding, which was the basic document for the practical implementation of this assistance.
This was the beginning of activities of the Russian detachment for humanitarian demining, which began work in the Nis area, clearing cluster bombs and other explosive objects adjacent to the city’s airport, which was the target of NATO bombing in 1999.
In 2009, after the completion of complicated work at the airport in Nis, the DC offered to the Russian detachment a new project in the area of Paracin. Suburb areas of Paracin were heavily clogged with explosive objects since the first and second world wars, as well as ammunition from the arsenal of Paracinske utrine warehouse, which were scattered over a large area after it exploded.
In 2010, as a result of the meeting of the Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu and the leadership of Serbia, a joint Russian-Serbian unit for humanitarian demining was formed. The Russian Federation continued its funding, the DC prepared projects and acted as the competent state body from the Serbian side, and the detachment implemented the intended.
According to the head of the Detachment, Bogdan Pilipchuk, since 2009, 5.347.000 square meters of territory in the area of Parachin have been cleared, to date 13.046 units of various explosives have been found and destroyed. Speaking about the project “Cuprija-1”, he stressed that the detachment guarantees the quality of its work in accordance with international standards, that the unit literally checked every centimeter of the territory over an area of 775,200 square meters.
The cleared land was returned to the owners or users and put into use: in Nis, the necessary structure was restored at the airfield, damaged houses were repaired in Parachin, farmlands were recreated, and safe traffic was provided on local roads.
Correspondents of the editorial staff of the Frankfurt News were the first among media to visit the Russian-Serbian detachment for humanitarian demining in 2017, along with Dragisa Nikolic, as representative of the DC, and by the RSHC director Bojan Glamoclija.