May 25, 2022

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Illegal landmines are rife in Ukraine's second largest city

Illegal landmines are rife in Ukraine’s second largest city

– It shows a fierce war that has become the trademark of Russia. Lieutenant-General Arne Bard Dalhaug says they have no respect for civilian life.

A family in Kharkiv stands in despair in the street after the house they were living in was destroyed in a Russian bomb attack on March 26. According to Human Rights Watch, Russian forces have planted illegal landmines in and around the city of millions.

The Human Rights Organization announced Thursday Human Rights Watch Russian forces have dispersed banned anti-personnel mines in and around Kharkiv.

Countermeasures mean they are made to hit people who walk.

Russians Boom Mines -3 Equipped with a seismic sensor that detects movements. If a human or animal enters this area, an explosive charge will be released into the air. When the charge explodes, people and animals within a radius of 16 meters will be in danger of being killed or maimed.

This is in contrast to tank mines that are not prohibited. A man moving shouldn’t be enough to detonate such a mine.

According to Human Rights Watch, Ukraine does not have these mines in its arsenal. Russia, on the other hand, has it.

The mines are now found in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, the organization wrote. The largest city in the region, also called Kharkiv, is home to 1.5 million people.

These antipersonnel mines were found around Kharkiv.

No respect for civilian life

– This is in keeping with a completely cruel war against civilians, which is one of the trademarks of Russia. We have seen it in Grozny in Chechnya and in Aleppo in Syria. It is clear that it is now continuing in Ukraine. They have no respect for civic life, Arne Bård Dalhaug tells Aftenposten.

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Retired Lieutenant General commanded the Osse Observatory (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Corps in rebel-held Luhansk between 2016 and 2019.

Dallhog says he’s not surprised. He says this isn’t the first time there have been reports of Russians using munitions that many other countries have signed on not using.

He notes that Russia is already known to have used cluster munitions in Kharkiv. It is also a type of weapon that the vast majority of countries in the world have committed to stop using. This is because it carries a high risk of civilian casualties. Cluster munitions disperse small explosives over a large area.

He asks the countries of the world to condemn Russia

164 countries have signed international mining agreement Since 1997. All production, stockpiling, sale and use of antipersonnel mines has been prohibited. Russia is not among the signatories. The United States, China and India did not sign.

– But they follow the conditions in practice, while everything indicates that Russia does not respect this, says Dahlhaug.

Steve Goose, head of the arms division at Human Rights Watch, is now calling on the world to strongly condemn Russia’s use of these weapons.

Behind the grille barrier, tank mines can be seen on the front line in Novolohansky in Donetsk. The photo was taken by Aftenposten photographer in mid-February. These are not prohibited, unlike mines that are intended to kill people on foot.

It will not be recorded

Russian mines are dropped from aircraft or fired with artillery. This means that it spreads over large areas, and it is difficult to know where it has landed.

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– The delivery will be inaccurate and you will not be able to score the minefield and mark the outer edges, as it normally should. This means you lose control, says Dalhog.

However, POM-3 mines must be self-destructing. They are programmed to turn themselves off after a period of time. It is used as an argument that the civilian population is not at risk.

But Dalhaug believes there is no good reason to believe that this will work one hundred percent. He points out that Russian weapons so far in the war have had a large percentage of errors.

He says that mines will pose a great danger to the civilian population of Ukraine for a long time to come. In areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, large areas are already covered with mines after eight years of war. Russian forces have also planted antipersonnel mines there, according to Dallhog.

Ukraine also accuses Russia of laying mines in the Black Sea. In his address to Parliament on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that these ships are floating and pose a danger to all ships and all countries around the Black Sea.

It will take at least a decade to make the country mine-free again, Dallhog says. Large areas will be useless long after the war.