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 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 suggests 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 on or drives over 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 organization 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 maintained that it has a right to self-defense.
Additionally, Washington is close to approving the transfer of cluster bombs to Kiev. Like scatter mines, the submunitions dropped by cluster bombs are likely remain on the ground well after the war ends, posing a threat to civilians for years to come.
There is also an international treaty outlawing cluster bombs, signed by around 120 nations, though the US, Russia and Ukraine are not parties to the agreement. Both Moscow and Kiev have used cluster bombs on the Ukrainian battlefield.