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Statement: Evidence of anti-personnel landmines in Ukraine, according to Human Rights Watch

July 3, 2023

A recent report by Human Rights Watch discovered further evidence regarding the use of anti-personnel landmines in Ukraine in 2022.

The use of anti-personnel landmines in Ukraine has been documented several times in previous reports. In 2014 and 2015, reports indicated use by Russia-backed forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Four reports by Human Rights Watch have documented the use by Russian forces of at least 13 types of anti-personnel landmines in multiple areas since their full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In January this year, the organization reported cases of use by Ukrainian forces of PFM-1 antipersonnel mines in and around the Eastern city of Izium between April and September 2022. The most recent report brings further evidence of the use of these banned weapons in Ukraine’s operations to retake territory occupied by Russian forces. The Ukrainian government has pledged to investigate.

Landmines violate international humanitarian law as they cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants. Humanity & Inclusion condemns any use by any actors, under all circumstances. 164 States are parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty which prohibit the production, use and transfer of antipersonnel mines and requires the destruction of stock, clearance of mined areas and assistance to victims. Russia has not joined the Treaty. Ukraine is a State party.

“We call on the Ukrainian government to honor its expressed commitment to thoroughly investigate its military’s apparent use of banned antipersonnel mines. The use of these mines constitutes a major violation of the Mine Ban Treaty to which Ukraine is a party. We also call on all parties to cease the use of these weapons, which are prohibited by international law. Civilians are always the main victims of landmines, and the use of these weapons will put civilians’ life at risk for decades. The contamination as a result of mines and unexploded ordnance will remain for years. Already, it is a daily danger for civilians.” —Anne Héry, Humanity & Inclusion Advocacy Director

Note: The U.S. has not joined the Mine Ban Treaty


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