Matthew has met with Ukrainian politician Lesia Vasylenko to discuss how explosive weapons have been injuring the civilian population in Ukraine.
Lesia is an MP from the Holos Party, the smallest and youngest opposition party in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine. A consequence of military action in the country is that thirty percent of Ukrainian territories are covered in land mines and explosives, meaning that 67,000 sq miles have been rendered unlivable and present a hazard to millions of people.
However, given the military success of the Ukrainian forces retaking cities such as Kherson, people are returning to their homes. Media reports say that the numbers of casualties who suffer injuries from redundant explosive weapons have increased, both service personnel and civilians. Consequently Lesia and her colleagues are seeking assistance in putting together a plan to enable a civilian demining programme to be formed.
As Chairman of the APPG on Explosive Weapons, Matthew is now seeking to establish a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Royal Navy, Metropolitan Police Service, the Halo Trust, EMAG and other industry members of the APPG on Explosive Weapons.
Matthew said “It was inevitable that the situation in Ukraine would result in explosive contamination of the land and I have been discussing how assistance could be provided since day one. People wanting to return to their homes is entirely understandable but the conditions are not safe for civilian life.
"As I have seen in other conflict zones such as Sri Lanka, the Falklands and Azerbaijan, assistance can be provided through the use of autonomous robotic equipment such as drones, demining robots and landmine clearing equipment. Bringing together various organisations will allow the UK to put together a plan to bring security to the people of Ukraine.”
Matthew is pictured with Lesia Vasylenko and Nigel Ellway, Head of Secretariat and Director of the APPG