Human Rights Watch urges investigation of alleged use of prohibited land mines by Ukraine

KYIV — A human rights group says it has documented “numerous cases” of Ukrainian forces firing land mines into territory that was controlled at the time by Russia.

In a new report, Human Rights Watch suggests that Ukraine scattered so-called petal mines in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Izium. Petal mines are prohibited under the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, of which Ukraine is a signatory, because of their ability to indiscriminately maim and kill.

The report contradicts previous claims, including from Human Rights Watch itself, that Ukraine has only used anti-vehicle mines since Russia invaded in February 2022. Those types of mines are generally permissible under the laws of war.

“Russia has used these weapons in even greater numbers than Ukraine in a much more widespread fashion in different parts of the country,” Steve Goose, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division, told NPR. But, with these revelations, Ukraine’s “moral high ground has been compromised.”

Read more