“Land mines are being effectively used by the Ukrainian forces to shape the avenues of approach by Russian armored forces, which puts them into engagement areas and makes them vulnerable to the 60,000 anti-tank weapons systems that we’re providing to the Ukrainians” —US Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark Milley
In 1997 Ukraine signed the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines. However, they admitted to retaining Soviet-era mines for “research and training purposes.”
In 2014, Soviet-era mines appeared in Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk Oblasts. No side claimed responsibility. Ukraine agreed to ban the use of landmines in Donbas in the 2014 Minsk Agreement. The UN continued to claim that civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast have been killed by landmines each year for the past eight years.
Red Cross spokesman Dominik Stillhart told the BBC that their employees in Mariupol tried to leave the city on March 6th. He says it immediately became apparent that the roads leaving the city were mined, and they turned back. (Residents of Mariupol have widely accused Ukrainian forces of using force to prevent civilians from leaving the city.)
The Red Cross is careful not to make partisan statements or blame one side for any action. However, Stillhart states that they did not even reach “the first military checkpoint” before seeing evidence of mines. Their employees were in Ukrainian-held territory, meaning the first checkpoint would have been Ukrainian.
A cellphone video appears to show Ukrainian soldiers burying landmines in a residential neighborhood full of civilians. Women are screaming at them to stop, and one of the soldiers mocks them. You can hear children in the background. However, there is no confirmed date or location for the video.
Milley’s statement directly contradicts the rhetoric by Kiev that Russia is the sole perpetrator of landmines in Ukraine.
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