German Army Combat Training Centre Letzlingen 2019/Wikicommons
- Human Rights Watch told Ukraine to investigate its military’s use of banned “butterfly” mines.
- It called for Ukraine to investigate the use of PFM-1 antipersonnel mines in Izium in 2022.
- It cites photos showing debris from Uragan 9M27K3 rockets carrying antipersonnel mines.
Human Rights Watch told Ukraine to investigate the use of banned land mines by the Ukrainian military after new evidence that they had caused civilian casualties was discovered, per a new report.
“The Ukrainian government should act on its expressed commitment not to use banned antipersonnel landmines, investigate its military’s use of these weapons, and hold those responsible to account,” the report says.
The group had called for Ukraine to investigate the use of Russian-made PFM-1 antipersonnel mines around the eastern Ukrainian city of Izium between April and September 2022. It said it had evidence of 11 civilian casualties from the mines, including one fatality.
PFM-1 are prohibited military weapons under the 1997 Mine Ban Convention, that Ukraine has signed.
The miniature PFM-1, also known as “butterfly” or “petal” mines, are fired from rockets and scatter indiscriminately on a wide area. They contain 37 grams of explosive, enough to at least blow off a foot, reported Forbes.
The HRW report said that the small plastic PFM mines “are fired into an area, land on the ground, and detonate when pressure is applied to the body of the mine, for example, when someone steps on, handles or moves it.” Some PFM mines self-destruct, exploding randomly up to 40 hours after being used, said HRW.
HRW said it had unearthed more evidence that Ukraine used the banned mines in 2022 and has informed the Ukrainian government. It said that photos posted online in May 2023, taken in eastern Ukraine, show debris from Uragan 9M27K3 mine-laying artillery rockets that only carry antipersonnel mines.
One Uragan rocket delivers 312 mines, and the launch vehicles fire rockets in salvoes of sixteen, per Forbes.
—Rob Lee (@RALee85) July 31, 2022
“The Ukrainian government’s pledge to investigate its military’s apparent use of banned antipersonnel mines is an important recognition of its duty to protect civilians,” Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch, said, per the report.
“A prompt, transparent, and thorough inquiry could have far-reaching benefits for Ukrainians both now and for future generations.”
The organization has also previously reported on Russia’s use of antipersonnel mines in the war, using POM-3 mines that are banned under the 1997 international Mine Ban Treaty, Insider previously reported. Russia, however, did not agree to the 1997 international treaty, while Ukraine signed it in 1999.
The PFM-1 was widely used during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, resulting in a high number of casualties among children from the mine being mistaken for a toy due to its shape and coloring.