The international human rights organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) has published a new report in which it calls upon Kyiv to investigate cases of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ alleged use of PFM anti-personnel mines.
The report states that HRW documented a number of cases in which Ukraine’s Armed Forces shelled the city of Izium and the surrounding areas using anti-personnel mines during the Russian occupation of the city.
According to HRW, nearly 50 civilians were “apparently injured from anti-personnel mines in the area during or after the Russian military occupation”. In about half the cases, the human rights defenders found, “injuries involved traumatic amputations of the foot or lower leg, injuries consistent with PFM blast mines”.
“Ukrainian forces appear to have extensively scattered landmines around the Izium area, causing civilian casualties and posing an ongoing risk,” Steve Goose, Arms Division director at Human Rights Watch, says. “Russian forces have repeatedly used anti-personnel mines and committed atrocities across the country, but this doesn’t justify Ukrainian use of these prohibited weapons.”
Last summer, the UK Defence Ministry Intelligence stated that Russia was “highly likely deploying anti-personnel mines to protect and deter freedom of movement along its defensive lines in the Donbas”.
The use of anti-personnel mines is prohibited by international law.