Seven if Russia were to withdraw from Ukraine tomorrow, a permanent problem would remain for the civilian population. Landmines are a danger to everyone, whether soldier or civilian. They can cause serious injuries and, in the worst case, kill. Even before February 24, Ukraine was contaminated with mines dating back to the First and Second World Wars.
In the course of the Russian war of aggression, around 30 percent of the territory is now mined, according to the Ukrainian state emergency service – an area roughly twice the size of Austria. The area and number of mines on Ukrainian territory has increased tenfold compared to the pre-war period. This information cannot be verified independently.
In order to be able to assess where a particularly large number of mines are located, a look at the front lines and the particularly hard-fought areas helps, says Wolfgang Richter. The scientist from the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin assumes that mines play a strategically decisive role, especially in defense – for example to make it more difficult for the enemy to advance. It can therefore be assumed that Ukraine itself mined some areas from a defensive position at the beginning.
So-called duds, which can come from artillery or rocket launchers and have not exploded, are also dangerous for the population. According to Richter, a particularly high density of mines and duds is to be expected in the heavily contested areas such as Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol. But also where there was an orderly Russian retreat, such as in Cherson.
Use of internationally banned anti-personnel mines
Seven types of mines belonging to the group of internationally banned anti-personnel mines have been deployed in Ukraine, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) ‘Landmine Monitor’. The Ottawa Convention outlaws the production, storage, transfer and use of these explosive devices by a large part of the international community. In the meantime, 164 states, i.e. around 80 percent of all countries, are members of the convention. His signing marks the 25th anniversary this Saturday. True, Russia, along with other states such as the United States and China, has not joined the convention. However, it was the only country other than Myanmar to resort to these weapons between mid-2021 and October 2022, according to the report.