The United States conventional weapons destruction program continues to support regional security, national capacity building, and economic development in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. The U.S. Government’s investment in physical security and stockpile management helps reduce the risk of illicit diversion of small arms and light weapons to nefarious actors and prevent accidental explosions at depots storing aging and unstable ammunition. Explosive hazards from the Yugoslav wars in the Balkans prevent families from returning home, increase the danger of wildfires, and hinder economic development. Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 has littered massive swaths of Ukraine with landmines, unexploded ordnance, and improvised explosive devices, which block access to farmland, impede reconstruction efforts, prevent displaced families from returning to their homes, and continue to kill and maim innocent Ukrainian civilians.
Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $636 million in Europe for explosive hazard survey and clearance, risk education, survivors’ assistance, and to improve stockpile security and demilitarize unserviceable munitions.
Through U.S. support, our implementing partners accomplished the following in fiscal year 2022:
- 3,450,814 square meters (853 acres) of land was safely returned to communities
- 322 landmines were destroyed
- 2,086 explosive remnants of war were destroyed
- 67,536 individuals across the region received explosive ordnance risk education in person, with more than 18 million additional individuals in Ukraine receiving it through social media
- 204 explosive ordnance disposal callouts were conducted in response to urgent requests for unexploded ordnance to be investigated and rendered safe
- 1,730 metric tons of unserviceable ammunition were destroyed
The United States is the world’s leading financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction, providing more than $4.6 billion in assistance to more than 120 countries and areas since 1993. For more information on U.S. humanitarian demining and conventional weapons destruction programs, see the latest edition of our annual report, To Walk the Earth in Safety.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter @StateDeptPM.