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Human Rights Watch has urged Kyiv to keep its pledge to investigate the alleged use of banned land mines by the Ukrainian military as new evidence of land mine use surfaced, according to a report published on June 30.
"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 stated.
In January, Human Rights Watch called on Ukraine to investigate the alleged firing of antipersonnel mines into Russian-occupied territories near the city of Izium between April and September 2022.
The day after the report, the Ukrainian government issued a statement promising to study its findings.
Since February 2022, Human Rights Watch has published four reports documenting the Russian military's use of banned antipersonnel mines in Ukraine. Russia has never signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which Ukraine signed in 1999.
Russia "violates international law when using antipersonnel mines because they are inherently indiscriminate," Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch said it had discovered alleged evidence that Ukrainian troops used banned land mines in 2022.
Photos posted to social media in May 2023 show remnants of artillery rockets that exclusively carry antipersonnel mines, the watchdog said. These rockets were photographed in eastern Ukraine, in areas that Ukrainian troops liberated from Russian occupying forces.
Human Rights Watch shared this alleged evidence in a letter to the Ukrainian government on May 28, but has not received a response.
“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,” said Steve Goose, arms director for Human Rights Watch.