2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Europe

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

In 2014, Russian occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine triggered fears of renewed illicit use of conventional weapons of war, including landmines and MANPADS in eastern Europe. Intense flooding and landslides in the Balkans dislodged and shifted landmines, which further complicated clearance efforts in that region. In response to the flooding, and at the request of the national mine-action centers, the United States deployed two separate QRF teams consisting of EOD experts, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia to advise and assist local authorities in assessing the initial situation, identify gaps in assistance, and provide recommendations on the way forward. In 2014, the United States increased its financial and technical assistance to both Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina, largely focusing on destroying Ukraine’s stockpiles of aging munitions, and clearing Bosnia and Herzegovina’s landmine and UXO contamination.

The United States continues to work steadily to help rid Europe of the dangerous legacies of past conflicts. Since 1993, the U.S. has provided more than $356 million in CWD funding. In cooperation with the European Union—the second largest donor to mine action in the world—U.S.-funded landmine clearance efforts have made much of Southeast Europe mine impact-free. In addition, securing and managing aging munitions in storage facilities and preventing the illicit proliferation of MANPADS in Europe remain top security priorities for the United States.