Russia’s use of landmines in Ukraine, including newly produced models, threatens to undo progress made on the issue over the past 25 years, an observer said Thursday.
Moscow has developed new antipersonnel mines and used those made as recently as 2021 in its war in Ukraine, Landmine Monitor said.
The observer said the use of landmines in Ukraine – and also in Myanmar – has marred the 25th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty, which was created in Ottawa in 1997.
Its annual report identified 277 civilian mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties in Ukraine in the first nine months of 2022, a fivefold increase from the 58 recorded in 2021.
“At least seven types of anti-personnel mines have been used by Russian forces in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24,” he said.
The monitor said he also confirmed evidence that Russian forces had set “victim-activated booby traps and improvised explosive devices in Ukraine since February 2022 at numerous locations before withdrawing and abandoning their positions. “.
Additionally, “scatterable mines” appear to have been used in several areas, many of which were under extensive Russian control, he added.
“The greatest challenge to the emerging norm against these weapons can be seen in their new use,” he said.
“Landmines continue to kill and injure civilians, destroy livelihoods, deprive land use and disrupt access to essential services in more than 60 countries and territories.”
Some 164 countries are bound by the ban treaty and have jointly destroyed more than 55 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines.
Russia is not a signatory, unlike Ukraine.
Globally in 2021, the report says that at least 5,544 mine and ERW casualties – including 2,182 deaths – were recorded in 50 territories.
The number of victims is down from the 7,073 recorded in 2020.
The all-time low of 3,456 was recorded in 2013.
“The death toll from landmines and explosive remnants of war has been extremely high over the past seven years,” the report said.
“This trend is largely the result of the increase in conflict and improvised mine contamination observed since 2015.”