Human Rights Watch found that Ukrainian troops have been using scatter mines. The anti-personnel weapons are internationally banned, including by Kiev, because of their devastating impact on civilians.
HRW reports uncovered several instances where Ukraine used anti-personnel scatter mines. The human rights monitoring group first made the allegation in a January report, but a press release issued on Friday says more evidence was found recently.
The evidence shows Ukrainian forces fired rockets carrying thousands of PFM-1 anti-personnel mines, also called “petal” or “butterfly” mines, according to the press release. The submunitions are pressure activated, meaning they linger on the ground until someone steps or drives upon them.
HRW “verified 11 civilian casualties from the mines, including one death and multiple amputations of lower legs, based on interviews with victims and their family members,” the press release said.
Russia has also used anti-personnel weapons. However, unlike Moscow, Kiev has ratified an international treaty outlawing their use.
The Ukrainian government responded to the HRW report by saying it will “study” the claims but maintains Kiev has a right to defense.
Additionally, Washington is close to approving the transfer of cluster bombs to Kiev. Like scatter mines, the submunitions dropped by cluster bombs will remain on the ground well after the war ends, killing civilians for years to come.
"Ukrainian forces appear to have used rockets to scatter stacks of internationally banned, hand-size antipersonnel land mines over Russian-occupied areas in eastern Ukraine, according to evidence collected by @hrw."— Jeffrey Kaye (@jeff_kaye) July 2, 2023
Give us more, Ukraine pleads! https://t.co/6xBL2IOI46
There is an international treaty outlawing cluster bombs. However, the US, Russia and Ukraine are not parties to the agreement. Both Moscow and Kiev have used cluster bombs on the Ukrainian battlefield.