A video showing Polish volunteers picking up anti-tank mines in Ukraine has gone viral on social media, sparking admiration and fear among the viewers. The video, first posted by a Polish journalist, shows the volunteers digging up the mines, and placing them in plastic bags that look like the ones from a grocery store.
The footage is scary, because the anti-tank mines are powerful enough to destroy a tank or a truck, and any slight movement or pressure could trigger an explosion. The video also shows how the tire of the truck they were using was inches away from one of the mines, before they dug it out of the ground.
The Polish volunteers are part of a humanitarian mission called “Sappers for Ukraine”, which among other things aims to clear the landmines left by the alleged Russian-backed separatists in the eastern regions of Ukraine. According to their website, they have been working in Ukraine for over 8 years, and have cleared over 1,000 mines and unexploded ordnance.
They also train local sappers and provide humanitarian aid to the affected communities. The danger of their job, has led to them being donned with the nickname “The Suicide Squad”.
Many people are praising the courage and dedication of the volunteers, and others expressing shock and horror at the dangerous situation they face. Some users also pointed out the irony of using plastic bags to carry explosives, and wondered if they had any safety equipment or procedures.
The video is a stark reminder of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which has claimed over 13,000 lives and displaced millions of people since 2014. Despite a ceasefire agreement signed in 2015, sporadic clashes and violations continue to occur along the front line, posing a threat to civilians and humanitarian workers. The landmines and unexploded ordnance also pose a long-term risk to the environment and agriculture, as well as to the safety and livelihoods of the local population.
The Polish volunteers are not the only ones who are trying to make a difference in Ukraine. According to the UN, there are over 300 humanitarian organizations operating in the country, providing assistance in areas such as food security, health, education, protection, shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene. However, the Sappers are doing things that are extremely dangerous, which takes a lot of dedication to a cause.