Deminers rush to clean up bathers’ favorite lake near Kyiv
Horenka (Ukraine) (AFP) – Deminers are racing against time to clear Lake Horenka, on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, of unexploded shells and missiles before the start of the summer season to avoid any casualties.
A wooden pontoon allows them to jump into the azure waters of the bucolic lake, which attracted hordes of fishermen and picnickers in more peaceful times.
Now two boats skim the surface as a diver and an amphibious drone explore its depths.
Between Thursday and Friday, the team found 10 heavy projectiles, remnants of heavy fighting in this area which was the front line in the early days of the war, released by Russia on February 24.
None of them exploded due to the “soft landing” on water, Serhii Reva, head of the Ukrainian National Rescue Service’s pyrotechnic unit, told AFP.
“If an object falls in water, it doesn’t explode because it doesn’t hit something very hard,” he said.
Unexploded projectiles are carefully transported in trucks and transported to an uninhabited area approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) where they explode.
The deminers are fighting against the clock.
“If you wait a month or two, they will be covered in mud and it will be impossible to see them, that’s why it’s urgent,” said Viktor Pohorilyi, showing on his video screen a rocket found 6.5 meters away. deep (21 feet).
Summer is fast approaching and that’s another reason to hurry.
Reva said picnickers will flock here and “they will start diving” despite being warned of the risks.
The Kyiv region has several scenic bathing spots – on the banks of the Dnipro River and the many lakes that dot the region.
In Horenka there are lookouts for picnickers and although no one has ventured here so far, Reva fears there will be visitors as soon as the Russian countryside moves eastward from Kyiv Ukrainian separatist.
Another cause for concern? Fishermen.
“Angling is not a problem, but for people fishing with nets, they might pull out dangerous objects,” Reva said.
His teams, equipped with two amphibious drones, cannot cover the full expanse of the shimmering blue lake, he conceded.
The clearing operation should end on Sunday.
© 2022 AFP