Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 11 May 2014

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

State Party

National implementation measures

None reported

Transparency reporting

1 April 2014

Ukraine signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 24 February 1999 and ratified on 27 December 2005, becoming a State Party on 1 June 2006.

Ukraine has not enacted national legislation, including penal sanctions, to enforce the prohibitions of the Mine Ban Treaty domestically as required in Article 9. It has reported existing regulations under national implementation measures as well as a 2012 law to ratify an agreement with a NATO agency to destroy stockpiles.[1]

Ukraine submitted its eighth Article 7 transparency report on 1 April 2014, for the period 1 January 2013 to 1 January 2014.

Since the Second Review Conference in 2009, Ukraine has attended almost all treaty meetings, including the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in December 2013, where it gave an update on its stockpile destruction efforts.[2] It made statements on compliance and stockpile destruction at the intersessional Standing Committee meetings held in April 2014.[3] Ukraine did not attend the Third Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in Maputo in June 2014.

Ukraine is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war (ERW). It submitted a national annual report for Amended Protocol II, but has not submitted a national annual report for Protocol V.

Production and transfer

Ukraine has declared that it “has not made and does not produce antipersonnel mines.”[4] It has not produced antipersonnel mines since its independence.[5] Ukraine is not known to have exported antipersonnel mines. Its 1999 moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines, formally in place through 2003, in practice stayed in effect until the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force for Ukraine in 2006.


Landmines appear to be a part of the conflict between government forces and Russian-backed separatists that erupted in early 2014 initially in Crimea, then in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. There is significant evidence present at different locations that antipersonnel mines of Soviet-origin with production markings from the 1980s are available to combatants and unconfirmed reports of emplaced antipersonnel mines being found in the field. Ukraine has accused Russian forces of laying antivehicle and antipersonnel mines on Ukrainian territory. However, it is not possible as of October 2014 to determine the use by any party of antipersonnel mines, or other devices prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty such as victim-activated booby-traps.

There have been numerous media reports of MON-series directional fragmentation mines and OZM-72 mines being seized from or recovered by separatists in Donetsk province. These multi-purpose antipersonnel munitions can be emplaced either in a command-detonated or victim-activated manner. When used in victim-activated mode, they are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty.

It appears that pressure-activated antivehicle mines were used at several locations in eastern Ukraine in July–August 2014.

It also appears that reports of minefields being emplaced to demarcate border areas after the annexation of the Crimea were actually either “phoney minefields” or areas containing trip flares.[6]

In its Article 7 reports submitted in 2007, 2008, and 2009, Ukraine stated that its MON-series and OZM-72 mines could be used in command-detonated mode in compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty, but declared the stockpiled mines as excessive and not suitable for use, indicating that they would be destroyed.[7] The Article 7 report provided in 2009—the most recent year of reporting on the stocks—lists 296,288 OZM-72 mines and 57,935 MON-series mines in the stockpile.[8]


On 8 March 2014, a photographer for the Russian investigative publication “Novaya Gazeta,” Evgeny Feldman, visited a checkpoint that Russian military forces established near the town of Chongar, a few kilometers north of the Crimean peninsula in Kherson province in Ukraine. Feldman photographed an apparent minefield near a Russian military encampment laid near a road leading into the Crimean peninsula and close to the villages of Chongar and Nikolaevka. The photographs show a line of mounds of earth in a field and “Danger Mines” warning signs.[9]

A freelance photojournalist, George Henton, shared a series of photos with Human Rights Watch (HRW) that he took of the area near Chongar that was marked with “Danger Mines” signs next to holes dug apparently for fence posts to demarcate the new border.[10] The photos show at least five men holding Ukrainian flags in an area marked as mined. The photos show a stake-mounted, tripwire-initiated flare in the ground, also called a “signal mine” in Russian. Another photo shows one of the men handling a trip-flare or signal mine.[11] None of the men who entered the area marked as mined were injured by antipersonnel mines and none saw any mines—antivehicle or antipersonnel—in the field.

On 1 April at a meeting of the CCW in Geneva, Ukraine made a statement that alleged Russian use of TM-62 antivehicle mines and unidentified antipersonnel mines in Kherson province just north of Crimea. It said the mine-laying was witnessed by Ukraine Ministry of Defense officials and by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) military observers. The Ukraine statement included a quote from a resident of Kherson province, stating that “fields on the border with the Crimea [are] mined. Some farmers say that there are flares, others that there are real mines. But out on the field all [are] afraid. My friend refused to sow wheat. This year it will stand [as an] empty field…” In a subsequent meeting with the ICBL, Ukraine said they could not provide any more information about the landmines it believes were laid in Kherson province. A 31 March letter received by an ICBL member from a Ukrainian diplomatic representative stated that the minefield in Kherson province contains antivehicle mines and that antipersonnel mines “cannot be excluded.”[12]

At the CCW meeting in Geneva on 1 April, Russia denied Ukraine’s statement that Russian Armed Forces had laid landmines in Kherson province and said “the Self Defense forces of Crimea, before the referendum, placed the minefields with relevant markings, around Chongar.” Russia said “they placed only signal mines and put proper signage around the fields.” In a meeting with the ICBL, the Russian delegation said that the Ukraine “self‐defense forces” used “signal” mines and not “combat” mines. They indicated “combat” mines—presumably antipersonnel and antivehicle—were not used as it was considered unnecessary and because the Chongar area in Kherson province is “densely populated” and “friendly” towards Russia. The delegation said that the signal mines are “not military means and are not prohibited.” The delegation said the fact that the Russian Ministry of Defense had not ordered clearance of the area indicated that are no real minefields in place. The delegation said it did not know what would be done with the fences, signs, holes, and signal mines, stating it will depend on how the situation develops.[13]

At the CCW meeting on 1 April, several states expressed concern at the reported landmine use in Ukraine. Canada said it was “deeply concerned by what we regard as credible reports of use of mines by Russia on Ukrainian territory, especially antipersonnel mines” and called on Russia to remove any landmines emplaced in Crimea. The United States said it was aware of reports of emplacement of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines in Crimea and called on Russia to abide by the CCW’s Amended Protocol II on landmines. Norway also expressed concern at the placement of mines in Crimea, in particular antipersonnel mines, and called on those responsible to clarify on the steps taken in compliance with the CCW Amended Protocol II on landmines.[14]

Donetsk and Luhansk provinces

On 11 October 2014 on the grounds of the primary school in the city of Ilovaisk in Donetsk province, HRW researchers encountered four fuzeless OZM-72 mine bodies that had been ejected from a vehicle attacked while parked on school grounds weeks earlier, in late August. Separatist authorities clearing unexploded and abandoned ordnance from former battle areas removed the four mine bodies and indicated they would be added to their stockpiles. The separatists showed the researchers another undamaged fuzeless OZM-72 mine already in their possession in their vehicle.

Other reported but unconfirmed incidents of the seizure of landmines or claims of attacks involving landmines include:

·         In late August 2014, there was a media report that Ukrainian forces were reinforcing the city of Mariupol (Donetsk province) against possible attack, with engineer units actively laying mines to prevent entry into the city.[15]

·         In a 6 August 2014 media report, separatist representatives claimed that their forces had ambushed a large armored convoy in a minefield near the villages of Latysheve and Rozsypne southeast of Snizhne (Luhansk province), destroying several vehicles.[16]

·         Photos and information released on 9 July 2014 by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense shows two truckloads of weapons including TM-62 antivehicle mines as well as MON-50 and MON-90 mines that it said were seized from the former headquarters of pro-Russian separatists in Sloviansk, Donetsk province. [17]

·         On 7 July 2014, Dmytro Tymchuk, the head of the Centre for Military-Political Studies and coordinator of the “Information Resistance” blog, reported that a tractor drove on a mine in Krasnopartizansk in Luhansk province, killing its driver, a 30-year-old local man. According to Tymchuk, locals saw pro-Russian separatists emplace mines on the road.[18]

Stockpiling and destruction

Ukraine missed its 1 June 2010 treaty-mandated deadline for the destruction of all stockpiled antipersonnel mines and has therefore been in violation of the Mine Ban Treaty ever since.[19] The requirement to destroy almost six million PFM-type antipersonnel mines was a key obstacle that prevented Ukraine from rapidly ratifying the Mine Ban Treaty.[20] For years, Ukraine repeated at nearly every formal and informal Mine Ban Treaty meeting that it would depend on international support for the destruction of its stockpiles.[21]

The types and quantities of antipersonnel mines Ukraine has reported in its stockpile have varied over the years. The highest total of 6,664,342 mines of nine different types was detailed in Landmine Monitor Report 2006.[22]

In its Article 7 report for calendar year 2013, Ukraine declared a stockpile of 5,584,949 antipersonnel mines: 5,435,248 PFM-type and 149,096 POM-2 remotely-delivered mines, and 605 OZM-4 hand-emplaced bounding fragmentation mines.[23] Ukraine also reported the destruction of 332,352 PFM mines in 2013.[24] It declared the destruction of 22,604 mines in 2012 and 9,890 mines in 2011.[25] Since 1999, Ukraine has destroyed significant quantities of stockpiled antipersonnel mines using both its own resources and international assistance.[26] At the May 2013 intersessional meetings, the ICBL urged Ukraine to explain the status of destruction plans for the stockpiled POM-2 mines.[27]

A solid waste incinerator capable of destroying PFM mines is located at the Pavlograd Chemical Plant. Ukraine received US$1 million from Norway to purchase new equipment (dry ceramic filters and a cooling system) to improve the facility and bring it up to European safety and environmental standards.[28] In December 2011, Ukraine announced that the equipment was installed and the facility was in operation with the capacity to destroy 1.1 million PFM mines per year.[29]

In a May 2013 presentation, Ukraine stated that the deadline for destroying the stockpile will depend on funding from the European Union (EU) and noted that “since 2010” Ukraine has been waiting for the EU funds to be dispersed.[30] However, the incinerator and destruction process currently in place at Pavlograd can only be used to destroy PFM-1 and PFM-1S self-destructing mines contained in “cassettes” and “blocks” for the KMG-U aerial dispenser. A significant amount of Ukraine’s remaining stockpile consists of PFM-1S self-destructing mines contained in 220mm rocket warheads, approximately 3.19 million mines, and the destruction of theses mines will require different disassembly procedures.[31] Ukraine has not provided clear information on plans to destroy the PFM mines contained in 220mm rocket warheads not covered by its agreement with the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA).


[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 1 April 2014.

[2] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2013.

[3] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 9 April 2014; and statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 11 April 2014.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, 1 April 2014.

[5] For example, in May 2009 Ukraine said it “did not produce APL [antipersonnel landmines] in the past, doesn’t produce at present, and will not produce them in the future.” Presentation by Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 25 May 2009.

[6] CCW Amended Protocol II defines it: “‘Phoney minefield’ means an area free of mines that simulates a minefield. The term ‘minefield’ includes phoney minefields.” Article 2, paragraph 8.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports, Form B, 11 April 2007, 20 April 2008, and 20 April 2009. The report submitted in 2009 stated that these mines “are considered to be used in their controlled model. They do not fall under the provisions of the Ottawa convention. However, we have an excessive amount of them and they are planned to be destroyed.” The report submitted in 2008 said the mines “are unsuitable for use” and will be destroyed. The report submitted in 2007 said these mines “are approved for usage in controllable variant, and are not covered by MBT, but they are not usable and planned for destruction.” Presumably this means that the mines are in unsafe condition or beyond their shelf-life and will be destroyed.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, 20 April 2009.

[9] “Между Крымом и Украиной уже минные поля, армейские лагеря и бронемашины” (“Between Crimea and Ukraine there are already minefields, armoured vehicles and army camps”), Novaya Gazeta, 8 March 2014.

[10] Email from George Henton to HRW, 10 March 2014.

[11] These devices are used to alert troops when an area has been entered by illuminating it for a short period of time, as the flares burn harmlessly. Such devices are not covered by the Mine Ban Treaty.

[12] Presentation by Dr. Kateryna Bila, Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Implementation of the Protocol II by Ukraine,” in Geneva, 1 April 2014

[13] Statement by the Delegation of the Russian Federation, Geneva, 1 April 2014. Notes by ICBL/CMC.

[14] Audio recording available here.

[15]Government forces mine approach roads to Mariupol,” Ukrinform (Kiev), 29 August 2014.

[19] On 18 May 2010, Ukraine officially informed States Parties in a note verbale that “it will be unable to comply with its Article 4 obligation to destroy stockpiled anti-personnel mines by 1 June 2010 deadline.” At the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June 2010 after Ukraine missed its deadline, Ukraine’s representative noted that this is not “unexpected information to States Parties” and that “Ukraine remains open for the fruitful cooperation with States Parties and potential donors and hopes for the practical assistance to make Ukraine territory free from [antipersonnel mine] stockpiles of PFM-type as soon as possible.” See statement by Amb. Oleksandr Nykonenko, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 21 June 2010.

[20] PFM mines contain a liquid explosive filling (VS6-D) that makes them dangerous and difficult to destroy, and requires sophisticated pollution control measures. In mid-2003, a European Commission (EC) technical study determined that the condition of Ukraine’s PFM stockpiles was good. The mines were consolidated into two sites, from a previous total of 13 storage locations. See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 765.

[21] In 2002, the EC launched a project to finance the destruction of Ukraine’s PFM mines, but a contract awarded in December 2005 was cancelled in April 2007. In 2008, Ukraine said it had decided to make a national financial contribution toward destruction of about 1.6 million of the PFM mines, and also requested a renewal of European Union (EU) assistance. In 2009 and 2010, Ukraine said on multiple occasions that it was unlikely to meet its stockpile destruction deadline. It appealed to States Parties in May 2009 to find a “joint solution” to the problem and to come up with an option that would “prevent Ukraine from violating the Article 4 deadline” including international financial assistance to modernize destruction facilities and to acquire additional equipment. In a statement at the Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference in Cartagena on 2 December 2009, Amb. Nykonenko of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Ukraine could destroy one million mines per year if the destruction facility was upgraded and that with additional assistance the timeframe might be reduced to three years.

[22] For a chart showing the changes on the quantities and types of stockpiled antipersonnel mines from 2006–2009, see Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 774.

[23] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, 1 April 2014.

[24] Ibid., Form G.

[25] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 1 April 2012 and 1 April 2014.

[26] In a November 2008 presentation, Ukraine indicated it had destroyed its entire stock of 238,010 POMZ-2 and POMZ-2M mines, as well as all 8,060 PMD-6 mines. It also destroyed more than 400,000 PMN mines in 2002 and 2003. Ukraine also destroyed 101,088 PFM-1 mines in 1999. In June 2008, Ukraine reported that between 2005 and 2007, an experimental program to partially dismantle and destroy 8,000 POM-2 mines was carried out at the Donetsk Chemical Plant, and a further 48 POM-2 mines were destroyed at the Pavlograd Chemical Plant. In its Article 7 reports submitted in 2007, 2008, and 2009, Ukraine also noted that while its MON-type and OZM-type antipersonnel mines can be used in command-detonated mode in compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty, these stockpiled mines are excessive and not suitable for use, and it has plans to destroy them.

[27] Statement of the ICBL, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 27 May 2013.

[28] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 December 2010. On 21 September 2011, Ukraine and the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) signed an agreement to implement a project to destroy 2.7 million PFM mines in cassettes and blocks using €2.35 million (US$1.27 million) in funding coming from the EU through a NATO/Partnership for Peace (PfP) Trust Fund over a period of three years. The agreement is Phase II of a broader €25 million ($35 million) demilitarization project being conducted under the auspices of NATO/PfP and numerous NATO member states. Interview with NAMSA Representative, Kiev, 8 November 2011; and statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of the States Parties, Phnom Penh, 1 December 2011. Average exchange rate for 2011: €1=US$1.3931. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 3 January 2012.

[29] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of the States Parties, Phnom Penh, 1 December 2011.

[30] Presentation of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 27 May 2013. Notes by the ICBL.

[31] The technical challenge with the destruction of PFM-1S mines occurs when they are removed from the rocket warhead; the mines must get into the incinerator within 30 minutes because it is not possible to scientifically predict whether handling the mines during disassembly of the warhead section will activate the mine’s self-destruct system. ICBL interviews with management and technical staff at Pavlograd Chemical Plant, Ukraine, 9 November 2011. See also briefing materials from State Enterprise Research-Industrial Complex Pavlograd Chemical Plant, “Execution of Works on Disposal of Antipersonnel PFM Mines,” 9 November 2011.