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Anti-personnel mines were reportedly discovered by Ukrainian bomb disposal technicians in the eastern Kharkiv region on March 28. The POM-3 mine, also known as “Medallion”, contains a sensor to detect an approaching person and then fires an explosive charge into the air.
The mine rises off the ground to around head height before detonating.Shrapnel from the blast is said to cause death and injury within a 16-metre radius.
Steve Goose, the arms director of Human Rights Watch, told The Daily Telegraph: “Countries around the world should forcefully condemn Russia’s use of banned anti-personnel landmines in Ukraine.
“These weapons do not differentiate between combatants and civilians and leave a deadly legacy for years to come.”
The mines are banned under the 1997 international Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
Some 164 countries have joined the treaty. Russia is one of the few countries not to have joined – a move which is widely criticised by other states.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2020, Russia said it views anti-personnel mines “as an effective way of ensuring the security of Russia’s borders.”
Ukraine does not possess this type of landmine or its delivery system, leading to the conclusion that the POM-3 mine was used by Russian troops.
Unlike traditional mines which are buried under the soil and explode upwards, modern anti-personnel mines are designed to jump into the air once triggered and explode above ground.
The so-called ‘bounding mines’ blast shrapnel in all directions. People who are quick to get under cover or lie flat on the ground could be protected from the blast, however they could still be hit by the shrapnel.
The mines are thought to be equipped with a self-destructive device that destroys the object a certain amount of time after deployment.
They were reportedly delivered by rockets fired from specially designed ground launchers that can deliver mines from 5km to 15km away.
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The ground launchers were captured on video which circulated on social media earlier this week.
The ISDM Zemledelie-I mine-laying rocket launchers were first seen during the annual Russian military exercises in 2021.
Pictures of a delivery canister containing POM-3 mines that failed to deploy properly indicate that it was produced in 2021.
Mr Goose said: “Russia’s use of antipersonnel mines in Ukraine deliberately flouts the international norm against use of these horrid weapons.”
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