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Russians Planted Thousands of Land Mines During Retreat From Kyiv, Ukrainians Say

todayApril 13, 2022

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Ukraine’s emergency services agency has deployed a small army of about 550 mine specialists to clear the areas recently occupied by Russian forces. The teams have been working to remove about 6,000 explosives per day, and since the start of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, they have found more than 54,000 explosive devices, the agency reported on Tuesday.

“Wherever the occupiers stayed overnight, they would set up tripwires,” Ukraine’s interior minister, Denys Monastyrsky, said during a televised interview on Sunday. “Explosives have been found under helmets, attached to doors, in the washing machine, and in cars.”

The placement of explosives in Ukrainian homes could not be independently verified.

Mr. Naumenko, who was killed on April 4, worked as a driver in the village of Hoholiv, about 40 miles outside of Kyiv. But his talent lay in repairing cars. After Russian forces retreated from a nearby village, neighbors found an abandoned vehicle and turned it over to him.

His wife learned of his death the next day in Poland, where she had fled with their 7-year-old son and her mother at the start of the war. She returned to their village as soon as she got the news. “What was left was the car, with the door still open and a pool of blood,” Ms. Naumenko, 28, said, “and a big emptiness.”

Her account was confirmed through photos and by the Kyiv regional police, who posted a report about the incident on their Facebook page, cautioning returning residents to “not touch objects and things that are not previously tested by experts.”

Other local officials are urging residents to call emergency services before entering their homes.

Retreating armies often bury land mines in order to slow the advance of enemy armies. But experts say Russian forces have a well-earned reputation for booby-trapping areas they have vacated in order to kill and maim returning civilians.

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