The forgotten Europian war


Here, school children are trained to avoid mines

It is the forgotten war - where schoolchildren are educated about the danger of mines. Eastern Ukraine has become one of the world's most mined countries. The conflict affects infrastructure and the survival of civilians.

The red and yellow signs are lined with white skulls, nailed to wooden poles in the ground. They have become more and more common in eastern Ukraine. Traveling on a gravel road, harvesting your field or taking a fishing trip on the river involves a risk to your life.

Like the Balkan War in the 1990s, land along the front lines of the ongoing war in Ukraine has been mined in many places. It is part of the warfare and in recent years has made the country one of the most mined in the world.

After nearly six years of conflict in eastern Ukraine, 3.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance – 60 per cent of them are women and children. 
Approximately 1.6 million people have been forced from their homes and tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or wounded.
The situation is particularly grave for girls and boys living in areas with the fiercest fighting: Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts – within 15 kilometres of the ‘contact line’ – a line that divides government- from non-government-controlled areas.

children donbass

The OSCE regularly visits schools in war-torn areas to educate children about the dangers of mines. Photo: Yves Choquette / AP