MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. Russian de-miners deployed to Laos have cleared 52 hectares of mines, Head of the Russian engineering troops Lieutenant General Yuri Stavitsky told the Krasnaya Zvezda (or Res Star) newspaper.
"Russian de-miners detected a large number of explosive items in an area of 52 hectares, which had been examined before. Those items mostly include US-made BLU-3/B, BLU-24/B and BLU-61/B fragmentation bomblets, designed to affect manpower and military equipment," he said.
A Russian mine clearance team is deployed to the Khamkeut District of the Bolikhamsai Province of Laos, which had suffered heavy bombings during the Vietnam War when the US Air Force targeted facilities included in a logistical system called the Ho Chi Minh trail, used for the delivery of supplies to North Vietnam's forces.
According to Stavisky, US warplanes carried out over 500,000 combat flights, dropping about 260 mln bombs. "Laos is a country that suffered from bombings the most," he said. "Since 1964, tens of thousands of people have died from bombs. More than 200 people get killed or suffer injuries in explosions every year," he added.
In November 2018, a branch of the Russian Armed Forces' International Anti-Mine Center was established in the Khamkeut District, where Russian instructors are training local de-miners. "As many as 19 de-miners have already received training," Stavisky noted.
The first foreign branch of the Russian Armed Forces' International Anti-Mine Center was set up in Syria’s Aleppo in January 2017.
"In the first six months, more than 1,200 Syrian de-miners received training there, who now successfully work in areas liberated from terrorists. After completing the training course, de-miners get modern protective equipment and mine detection devices," Lieutenant General Stavitsky said.
Syrian de-miners have cleared about 2,000 hectares of mines, detecting and defusing more than 18,000 explosive devices, including 5,500 homemade ones.
The experience gained by Russian demines in the Syrian cities of Palmyra, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor, is being studied at the Tyumen High Military Engineering Command School, Stavisky added.
In 2018, de-miners from the Russian Southern Military District’s separate engineer brigade defused 5,871 explosive items in Chechnya and Ingushetia, the general said.