KIEV, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine has become one of the most landmine-contaminated countries in the world due to the four-year armed conflict in the eastern region of Donbas, the country's Defense Ministry said Monday.
The hostilities between government troops and pro-independence rebels in Donbas have left about 16,000 square kilometers of land contaminated with landmines and other unexploded ordnance, said a statement on the ministry's website.
According to the statement, between April 2014 and August 2017, there were 2,558 civilians casualties in eastern Ukraine caused by landmines. About 10 percent of the victims were children.
Since the beginning of the conflict, some 260 square kilometers of land in Donbas has been cleared from landmines.
Earlier, the Defense Ministry estimated that Ukraine would need 10 to 15 years to clear the landmines that had been planted during the conflict.