Hidden landmines in Ukraine pose lethal danger for years to come

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Hidden landmines in Ukraine pose a deadly threat to civilians that will persist long after the war ends, an expert has warned. Newly-liberated towns can remain dangerous long after the last Russian forces have been forced out, with Ukrainian defenders discovering tripwires and booby traps as well as anti-tank explosives ready to detonate.

Kateryna Templeton from the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) told Sky News: “Contamination is massive.

“It’s not even comparable, I would say, to Syria or Afghanistan. It’s really massive.”

According to international law, the use of various mines is prohibited and restricted, especially those designed to target people.

Ms Templeton continued: “You will see anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines, booby traps, you will see lots of unexploded ordnance, you will see cluster munitions.

“Everything you can think of you will see in Ukraine.”

According to MAG, in the six years between 2014 and 2020 there were 1,190 mine-related casualties in Ukraine.

Between February 24, 2022 and January 10, 2023 – less than one year – there have been 611 known mine-related casualties.

Russian forces have been accused by Human Rights Watch of using banned anti-personnel mines in the eastern Kharkiv region.

A broad spectrum of mines have been deployed in Ukraine including some that had never been seen in combat before.

Ms Templeton told Sky News that MAG do not focus on investigating which side is placing the mines, instead they try to make sure parties are not using banned anti-personnel mines and look for opportunities to clear contaminated land so that people can live safer lives.

The organisation started their response by sending in a team in April 2022 and began working with local partners.

Ukrainians will be trained on how to clean up mined areas, supervised by experts from MAG.

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Some landmines in Ukraine pre-date February 2022, with Russian-backed forces in Donetsk and Luhansk using various devices in 2014-2015 and sporadically in the following years, according to Human Rights Watch.

More recently, Russian forces have placed victim-activated booby traps as they retreated from towns they had occupied during the early weeks of the full-scale invasion.

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