Ukraine has the world's highest coal industry death rate
BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents was broadcast on
Thursday, 13 March, 2003 at 1102 GMT.
Hundreds of coal miners are dying in industrial accidents in Ukraine every year.
Since independence, the pride of Ukraine's heavy industry has been working in appalling conditions, in mines that have become death-traps.
The number of miners killed in the past 10 years has been put at more than 3,700.
But why do these men continue to be sent to their deaths, when most of the nation's mines are not profitable?
George Arney put that question to miners, ministers and experts across a country where mining is little better than a game of Russian roulette.
The programme will be repeated on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, 17 March, 2003 at 2030 GMT.
Reporter: George Arney
Producer: Tanya Datta
Editor: Hugh Levinson