Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation resolutely protests against the kingdom being listed among countries who provide military assistance to Ukraine, the Khmer Times reported on Wednesday.
The training of Ukrainian deminers in Cambodia has been humanitarian rather than military assistance, the ministry emphasized in a statement. According to it, “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation reiterates that the decision to provide a special training course on mine clearance for Ukrainian deminers in Cambodia in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency was purely humanitarian. Previously, we provided similar support during numerous peacekeeping missions under the UN auspices in Africa and in the Middle East.”
This was how the MFA reacted to a post on a Telegram channel about demography where Cambodia was listed among countries supplying military assistance to Ukraine. “Such statements are not only false, but they also harm Cambodia, a peaceful country that is strictly committed to neutrality in its foreign policy course that is fixed in its constitution,” the kingdom’s Foreign Ministry said.
Since mid-January, the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) has been training 15 Ukrainian deminers. Last December, the Cambodian government dispatched three CMAC experts to Ukraine to train local deminers in the wake of a pledge Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen made at the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh in November 2022.
Cambodia has a major experience in clearing undetonated ammunition left from years-long civil wars or political armed conflicts. Since 1992, more than 3 million land mines and shells have been found and destroyed in the kingdom. Since 2006, Cambodia has regularly sent demining teams under the UN auspices to Chad, Cyprus, Mali, Southern Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.