In Ukraine, Russia’s use of landmine is threatening civilians

A danger sign warning about land mines, outside Kyiv A danger sign warning about land mines, outside Kyiv Natacha Pisarenko on Flickr

15 June 2022

In the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the massive use of banned mines alarmingly endangers civilians.

Russia is the only party to the conflict known to have used banned antipersonnel mines, whilst Ukraine remains consistent abiding by its obligations as a member of the international treaty- 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Both Russia and Ukraine have used anti-vehicle mines. The 19-page report, "Landmine Use in Ukraine," details several types of mines used since the beginning of the war on February 24, 2022.

Antipersonnel mines are the ones which mostly jeopardize civilians’ lives, they are designed to explode by the presence, proximity or contact of a person. Russia still has not joined the 164 countries that have ratified the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, in fact various types of banned landmines produced by state-owned manufacturers have been used in combat for the first time during this war.

Landmine use is affecting agricultural production and so civilians’ basic needs in Ukraine. The use of farm vehicles in fields and on rural paths and roads has become a high-risk activity. Local residents told Human Rights Watch that when Russian forces withdrew from the area, they did not clear the mines or share maps of them: making them a permanent threat on a daily basis.

Human Rights Watch has documented the use of Soviet and Russian-made antipersonnel mines in more than 30 countries, including Libya. There is evidence that Russian forces in Ukraine have also laid victim-activated booby-traps. Already, in the past (2014-2015) Russia-backed forces used landmines in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russia is called upon to stop developing, producing, and using landmines that most countries have rejected, while Ukraine should continue to maintain its good conduct; Goose says, "Mines set to self-destruct at random intervals only increase the risk of civilian harm", the full report will be presented to the countries attending Mine Ban Treaty’s meeting.

 

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by Viola Rubeca

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