“Human Rights Watch” accused the Ukrainian military of using anti-personnel “petal mines” in Izyum

Anhelina Sheremet

The international human rights organization Human Rights Watch said that the Ukrainian military used thousands of anti-personnel mines in and around Izyum when these territories were occupied. Meanwhile, the Russian military continues to use these mines.

The report was published on January 31.

Human Rights Watch says it has documented "numerous cases" of rockets containing PFM anti-personnel mines ("petal mines") being fired into occupied territories near Russian military facilities. The organization said that while most types of anti-personnel mines are hand-laid, those found in and around Izyum were deployed by rocket and artillery systems and aircraft or by launchers.

Human Rights Watch documented the use of "petals" in and around nine different areas of Izyum, and confirmed 11 civilian casualties. All nine districts were close to the positions of the Russian military.

Top view of an anti-personnel "petal mine" that exploded. She was discovered by Human Rights Watch representatives in the Izyum district in September 2022.

"It appears that the Ukrainian armed forces have scattered numerous anti-personnel land mines in the area around Izyum, resulting in civilian casualties and creating constant danger. The Russian military is constantly using anti-personnel mines and has committed heinous crimes across the country, but that does not justify Ukraineʼs use of banned weapons," stated Human Rights Watch Arms Director Steve Huss.

The organization noted that from September 19 to October 9, it conducted research in the Izyum district, interviewed more than 100 people, including witnesses to the use of landmines, victims of landmines, rescue workers, doctors and Ukrainian demining specialists. All those interviewed claimed to have seen landmines, known someone who had detonated them, or been warned about the presence of mines during the Russian occupation of Izyum.

"The use of any anti-personnel mines is illegal. Ukraine should conduct a thorough investigation of what happened and make sure that its armed forces do not use them," Huss added.