Terror remains in recaptured Ukrainian villages as the threat of unexploded bombs looms large

The success of the Ukrainian army in driving Russian troops out of other areas they had taken doesn't mean the Russian threat is completely over, as ITV News Correspondent Peter Smith reports

Additional newsgathering by ITV News Foreign Affairs News Editor Lutfi Abu Aun, cameraman Mark Nelson, cameraman Eugene Campbell and producer Andriy Glushko

Wherever there were Russian troops in Ukraine, there remains a threat from deadly weapons left in their wake. Thousands of landmines and unexploded bombs are scattered around the towns and villages that were recently occupied. Our team here went out with Ukrainian bomb disposal experts trying to clear the village of Bervytsya, west of Kyiv.

The entire location of the village of Bervytsya is still being swept. Credit: ITV News

They’ve isolated an area about 70 square metres - a former Russian ammunition hub that was destroyed in fighting. This one location will take a week to make safe again. And there are many, many more like it. “Our units alone have already disposed of 15,000 explosive objects,” Colonel Anatoly Vrublevsky tells me. He’s part of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. We see artillery ammunition, cluster elements, rockets, and hand grenades collected.

Bomb disposal units have discovered a wide range of dangerous weapons Russian soldiers used on the battlefield in Ukraine. Credit: ITV News

“It’s the full arsenal that Russians used on the battlefield and it remains on our land, he tells me. “Our duty is to make sure our people feel safe.” Where Russians have retreated or been defeated, all kinds of killing machines are still being discovered. The colonel shows me flechettes he found near Bucha. They are tiny metal darts, carefully crafted to kill or wound as many people as possible when they are planted inside an explosive device. Everything that’s found is defused and taken away to be destroyed.

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It is life saving work but it is also dangerous. Just a few days ago, three Ukrainians from the bomb disposal team were killed in the line of duty. We have also seen evidence that some bombs are being deliberately hidden in people’s homes. Svyatoslav was 39 years old, a lawyer, with a wife and 4 year-old daughter. He fled when Russians shelled his house, but when they left he thought it would be safe to return. He triggered a booby trap and was killed instantly.

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We were invited to attend his funeral by his mother’s cousin - a doctor who’s been treating victims of the war. Now it’s reached his family. “Every day we bury someone - every day,” says Professor Ihor Chermak, Director of Kyiv City Medical Hospital. “People are panicking now. They still feel haunted, they’re scared, and they can’t even get back to the lives they used to have. They still can’t return to their normal lives.” This is the terror being inflicted upon Ukrainian people. Long after Russian soldiers are gone, the threat remains. And the pain of mothers burying their sons will never leave.