21st November 2021 08:11:13 Hours
A military delegation led by Lieutenant General Yuri Mikhailovich Stavitsky, Chief of Engineering Troops of the Armed Forces in the Russian Federation, intending to observe Sri Lanka Army’s humanitarian de-mining roles and share advanced technical know-how and guidance for acceleration of de-mining work arrived in Sri Lanka this morning (23) under the bilateral military cooperation programme.
During their 4-day long stay in Sri Lanka, the 4-member Russian delegation is scheduled to observe Army de-miners at work in Muhamalai and Kadduwan areas in the North after an introductory meeting with the Commander, Security Forces - Jaffna, Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku at first.
The Russian delegation included Lieutenant General Yuri Mikhailovich Stavitsky, Head of the delegation, Colonel Alexander Vioktorovich Skvortsov, Officer of the Directorate of the Chief of Engineering Troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Colonel Andrei Vladimirovich Romanchuk, Brigade Commander Pontoon Brigade and Colonel Igor Ivanovich Pavelko, Chief of the Engineering Troops Training Centre.
The visiting delegation was welcomed at the airport by Major General Nihal Amarasekara, Chief Filed Engineer of Sri Lanka Army, together with Brigadier Anurudda Senaviratne, Commander Plant Engineer Brigade.
The delegation after receiving a comprehensive briefing on the history of de-mining, mechanical and manual clearing, use of Mine Detection Dogs (MDD) and witnessing a demonstration of MDDs will call on General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army at the Army Headquarters.
The Russian visit of goodwill and reciprocal gesture was made possible through the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Moscow after a similar team arrived in Sri Lanka for the same purpose in order to assist Sri Lanka with its de-mining projects. Afterwards, a Sri Lankan Army team of de-miners visited the engineers in the Russian Federation and shared experiences with them.
De-mining in Sri Lanka is carried out by the Army, Hallo Trust and few other agencies. A land patch of 12.88 sq km in the North and East is yet to be cleared in total and the Army de-miners are supposed to clear 1.24 sq km of land, infested with anti-personnel mines (APMs), landmines and other explosives.
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the past 2 years have offered their hand of friendship to the Sri Lankan troops following close consultations the Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army have had with Russian counterparts. Just a couple of weeks ago, General Shavendra Silva returned home after a 6-day long goodwill tour at the invitation of his Russian counterpart.
Russian Embassy officials were also associated with the itinerary of the delegation.