Donetsk, Aug 6 - DAN. Ukrainian forces, in violation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, preserved dozens of thousands of ammunition rounds and actively use them for mining in Donbass, said Donetsk People’s Republic People’s Militia deputy commander Eduard Basurin on Thursday as he presented the proof of Kiev’s violating its international commitments.

The Ottawa Treaty (of 1999) prohibits the use, stockpiling and production of anti-personnel mines. It was signed by more than 60 countries including Ukraine. The document envisions the destruction of mines within a four-year period and clearing of minefields within ten years. The treaty has an exception, namely the possibility to preserve a small amount of mines for training purposes.

“While denying the use of anti-personnel mines, everybody lies, from the Ukrainian government and the military to international organisations such as the OSCE and the UN,” Basurin said. “Planting anti-personnel mines in the Joint Forces Operation zone in Donbass is disguised by “easy” substitution of terms. The Ukrainian army designates anti-personnel mines in its expenditure sheets as “engineer explosive items.”

The use of these explosive devices by Kiev and ongoing mining in Donbass also contradicts Ukraine’s law on mine action which came into force in January 2019, but has been amended twice since.  The current version provides for setting up mine action centres and a whole range of measures on the search for mines and their disposal.

Basurin reminded that in November 2008, Kiev reported the elimination of 238,010 anti-personnel mines. However, judging by regular Ukrainian troops drills, they have mines and remote mine delivery systems for training and fighting. Ukrainian servicemen take courses in using anti-personnel mines employed in Donbas, while open sources show the training of radical gunmen for special operations in which directional and pressure-activated mines are employed.

In 2017, the Republic’s intelligence obtained the document which directly proved the use of banned explosive devices by Ukrainian troops. It mentioned the organising of 356 minefields. According to the document, four Ukrainian army brigades (of the 12 deployed to Donbass) planted 21,418 anti-tank and 1,028 anti-personnel mines.

Basurin noted in this connection that DPR forces repeatedly found MON-90 type mines in strips of wooded areas next to settlements which earlier had been under Ukrainian armed formations’ control. It is a directional fragmentation anti-personnel mine intended for destroying enemy manpower.  It contains submunition ( steel  balls) that can be propelled to a range of 90 to 99 metres.

The gathered materials are based on the results of an investigation, intelligence data, information from OSCE reports and other sources. A video proving these facts will be presented in the nearest future.

Basurin, on behalf of People’s Militia, urged the international community and the Minsk Agreements guarantor countries to use all possible resources for deescalation of the conflict and solution of the mine action problem.*jk