The Ukrainian retiree sweeping landmines for her cow

STORY: Combing her fields for mines and other war detritus has become a ritual for a Ukrainian retiree.

Hanna Plishchynska is 67-year-olds old, recently returned to her small village in southwestern Ukraine, and now wants to make it safe enough to put her cow out to pasture and plant vegetables.

"If it were not for the cow I would not do it. Everybody laughs at me that I go around the garden and check. But on the pastures over there the cows are being killed. And I walk around here, check, watch and only then let the cow out. What if my cow was killed by explosion, what would I do?"

Plishchynska had never wanted to leave Stepova Dolyna, which sits near the border of the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions. But the village found itself on the front lines, and heavy shelling from both sides forced Plishchynska to flee with her cow, chickens and ducks.

When she returned after fighting moved away, she found the area in ruins. Her house was still standing but its windows were blown out.

As soon as her metal detector beeps, she takes a stick, marks the area and calls the police.

Once the police collected an object with wings, she says. Other times, if she's sure the item is no longer dangerous, she will remove fragments herself.

"Of course I am scared. I am scared but I go on, when I hear a beep I stop and look what it is and that's it."