Since a long time there is a well-established bilateral partnership between Sweden a Ukraine. The Swedish government has commissioned the Swedish Armed Forces to continue implementing defense-related cooperation with Ukraine in 2020 within the framework of the country’s security sector reform. In 2019 the Ukrainian military attaché to Sweden, colonel Serhii Harbarenko, visited SWEDEC (Swedish EOD and Demining Centre) together with representatives from the Ukrainian armed forces. The purpose of the meeting was to have a dialogue about extended bilateral cooperation between Swedec and Ukraine in the field of demining. The action plan that was developed during the meeting was later determined by a government decision in December 2019. The task to SWEDEC 2020 was to give demining training for the Ukrainian armed forces and support Ukraine establishment of two national demining centers.
SWEDEC is Sweden’s centre of excellence for national, military, police, and international missions within the area of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). SWEDEC works in both military and humanitarian operations, with focus on training, development and operational support. SWEDEC contributes to increased safety and efficiency by delivering high-quality, accurate information and training. Staff expertise is complemented by cooperation with international experts and humanitarian organisations, such as the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). SWEDEC conducts training in various branches: mine clearance, explosive ordnance disposal of conventional ammunition (CMD), clearance of improvised explosive devices (IED), clearance of biological and chemical ammunition (BCMD), as well as handling of explosive substances, such as those found in ammunition storages.
For three weeks SWEDEC has completed a demining training for personnel from Ukrainian armed forces. The training aimed at increasing the ability to handle the prevailing complex ammunition and mine situation along the eastern border of Ukraine. The training has included risk awareness, localization, identification, marking and clearing of mines and ammunition. Several Ukrainian agencies are involved in national mine action activities and Ukraine is now establishing a new demining law. The law entails, among other things, the establishment of two national demining centers for coordination of the Ukrainian agencies. During a one-week workshop Swedec hosted representatives of Ukraine´s mine action program. Swedec shared experiences related to its role as a national center of excellence in the Swedish society.
The activities that are planned for 2021 can be divided into two areas, to increase the operational demining capacity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and to support and act as mentors in the Ukrainian formation of a national demining structure and the establishment of two national demining centers. SWEDEC is an internationally acknowledged actor with broad and extensive experience in the field of explosive ordnance disposal and demining. The support that the Swedish Armed Forces trough Swedec is giving to Ukraine is of great importance for the country to be able to deal with the difficult mine situation.