31 January 2023

(Geneva, January 31, 2023) - A new report published today by Human Rights Watch (HRW) finds that Ukrainian forces appear to have extensively scattered landmines in eastern Ukraine last year, causing civilian casualties and posing an ongoing threat to civilian safety.

In the report, ICBL-CMC member HRW details findings from a fall 2022 investigation it carried out in the Izium district of Ukraine, indicating that Ukrainian forces extensively used the banned weapon in a counteroffensive against Russian forces.

“We are deeply concerned by this documented use from a longstanding member state to the Mine Ban Treaty,” said ICBL-CMC Director, Hector Guerra. “Use of landmines in Ukraine is not only illegal under international law, it is a humanitarian tragedy for civilians, whether placed by the invading army, or national forces. In an armed conflict in which the Russian forces have already made intense use of landmines, Ukraine should immediately address the findings in this new report and commit all means necessary to redress these actions and protect its citizens from further harm from landmines.”

Ukraine has destroyed 3.4 million antipersonnel mines from its stocks to date according to Landmine Monitor but possesses a further 3.36 million mines to be destroyed under the Mine Ban Treaty. The country currently in violation of its obligation to destroy this stockpile.

ICBL-CMC calls on:

  • Ukraine to abide by its legal obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty and to refrain from using the weapon going forward, open an investigation into the apparent reported use of antipersonnel mines and bring those responsible for the violation to justice, take steps to secure and destroy its remaining stocks of antipersonnel mines.
  • Mine Ban Treaty States Parties must condemn any use of landmines by any party to the conflict and urge Ukraine to investigate the documented use of mines by its military forces.
  • State not party Russia should stop using antipersonnel landmines immediately, investigate any use of the weapon by their armed forces, and join the Mine Ban Treaty without delay.

Read the complete HRW findings here - Ukraine: Banned Landmines Harm Civilians
Ukraine Should Investigate Forces’ Apparent Use; Russian Use Continues