War in Ukraine | Human Rights Watch denounces the use of new antipersonnel mines

The organization Human Rights Watch strongly denounces the use by the Russian army in Ukraine of a new form of anti-personnel mines which are triggered by the simple detection of a human footstep.

Posted at 5:00 a.m.

Andre Duchesne

Andre Duchesne
The Press

New kind of mines

Named POM-3 or Medallion, these new kind of anti-personnel mines would be equipped with seismic sensors. This helps to detect a human footstep in the surroundings. When detection is made, the anti-personnel mine launches a small explosive charge that detonates in the air. Bomb fragments can be lethal up to 16m away. The sensors would even have the ability to distinguish the presence of a human from that of an animal. You can also program the triggering of mines using a self-destruct device.

By rocket launcher

According to what was discovered on the ground, the POM-3 antipersonnel mines are fired by means of a rocket launcher, the ISDM Zemedelie-1, specially designed for them. In flight, a parachute opens; the mine lands, deploys and goes dormant. This model seems to be a variant of the POM-2 antipersonnel mines also launched by rockets or Russian mortars in the Donbass region since 2014.

Near Kharkov

The first copies of POM-3 mines were found on March 28 in the Kharkiv region. They were discovered by Ukrainian munitions disposal technicians. Some devices were able to be defused and bore a date of manufacture in 2021. director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch. Not only do these weapons not differentiate between combatants and civilians, but they also pose a mortal danger for years. »

Banned by the Ottawa Convention

Anti-personnel mines are the subject of an international treaty, the Ottawa Convention, which prohibits their use, production, stockpiling and transfer. The treaty also provides for the destruction of these weapons. Since its adoption and entry into force, on 1is March 1999, 164 countries have signed this treaty, including Ukraine. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China, nor India, however, have joined.

years of work

The Human Rights Watch article does not indicate whether these new mines have caused casualties so far in Ukraine. Moreover, in an article devoted to these lethal devices, the New York Times asserts that Russia has “practically contaminated the whole country with unexploded ordnance”. This is also confirmed by the Minister of the Interior of Ukraine, Denys Monastyrsky, in an article by the Associated Press: “An incalculable number of shells and mines have been launched at Ukraine, a large part of which did not explode. They are under the rubble and pose a real threat. It will take us years, not months, to defuse them. »

Source: Human Rights Watch, The New York Times, popular scienceCAT-UXO, Associated Press

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