NIS, Serbia, September 25 (Itar-Tass) - Russia has extended the program of humanitarian demining in Serbia for three years, Vladimir Puchkov, the head of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM), now on a visit in this Balkan country, said on Tuesday after the talks with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic.
“The new three-year program has been indorsed, and we will continue work till 2016,” the EMERCOM head stressed. He said Russian deminers had deactivated 12,000 explosives in the five years of the work in Serbia. The Russian government had allocated 58 million dollars for the purpose. An area of 3.7 million kilometers had been cleared of mines.
“I am sure this will be to the benefit of Serbia’s development. It is extremely important that Russian and Serbian citizens work together on this task,” Puchkov said.
Dacic, in his turn, expressed gratitude to the Russian side for its activity for demining the territory of the republic.
“This is quite a costly undertaking, but thanks to the detection and disposal of thousands units of ammunition a great number of lives have been saved,” the premier noted.
Thousands of unexploded shells remain in the Serbian soil after the 1999 NATO bombings. Cluster bombs are the most dangerous of them. Russian mine pickers also work demining the territory studded with mines as a result of an explosion at the army depot near the city of Paracin.