Destruction of Soviet-era ammunition and anti-personnel mines in Ukraine

In the middle of Europe, large amounts of Soviet-era weapons and ammunition are still in storage. They are a security and environmental risk not only for Ukraine and its neighbours. Germany is participating in a NATO initiative to destroy these dangerous stockpiles.

Germany is contributing 200,000 euros in 2012 from the budget of the Federal Foreign Office to a NATO initiative to destroy these dangerous weapons. A corresponding agreement was signed on 30 May by Germany’s ambassador to NATO, Martin Erdmann. (The agreement was supplemented on 11 December.)

In Berlin, Federal Government Disarmament Commissioner Rolf Nikel had this to say:

Old Soviet ammunition should be destroyed and should not be stored in Ukraine right in the middle of Europe. By destroying munitions we prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Every euro that we devote to the destruction of dangerous weapons is money well invested. The destruction of anti-personnel mines is important to Germany on humanitarian and disarmament-policy grounds.

The German funds will flow into a NATO trust fund, to which NATO members and other interested countries can contribute. NATO is also responsible for the technical implementation of the project through its NAMSA agency.

Part of a long term project

The measure Germany is helping to finance is part of a large-scale project to destroy small arms, ammunition and landmines in Ukraine. NATO plans to destroy a total of around 76,000 tonnes of ammunition, 366,000 small arms and 3.6 million anti-personnel mines in Ukraine between 2011 and 2014. This is the largest programme to destroy weapons and munitions ever implemented. Germany will also provide further support for this in 2013.

Between 2005 and 2011, 15,000 tonnes of ammunition, 400,000 small arms, and 1000  Manpads were destroyed under US leadership. MANPADS (man-portable air defence systems) are shoulder-fired missiles, which also pose a potential threat to civilian air traffic. Germany contributed 50,000 euros to the disarmament project.

Last updated 19.12.2012

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