Friday, April 11, 2014

Landmines: Remarks by the Ukrainian delegation on compliance with the provisions of the Ottawa Treaty

Source: Government of Ukraine

Mr. Chairman,

The delegation of Ukraine is strongly concerned about the use of anti-personnel mines by the Russian Armed Forces in several parts of the Ukrainian territory, occupied by the Russian Federation, which could result in suffering and casualties caused to the civil population.

As it was previously reported by the delegation of Ukraine during the CCW expert meeting last week, Russian Armed Forces had carried out mining operations on the territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which, we reiterate, remains an integral part of Ukraine, and the neighboring region of Kherson (near the settlement of Chongar and at the Arabat Spit).

Respective Russian activities were witnessed between 7-9 March 2014 by the OSCE inspection team which visited Ukraine in accordance with the Article 18 of the Vienna Document and observed preparations for fencing, survey sticks of post holes and mine warning signs.

The latest information provided by the Main Directorate for Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine confirms the existence of the mine fields set up by the Russian Armed Forces at the entry points between the continental part of Ukraine and Crimean peninsula, namely at the Isthmus of Perekop/Crimea and the settlement of Chongar.

The composition of these mine-explosive obstacles: anti-tank mines (TM-62 type) and anti-personnel mines (the identification of their exact type is still hindered by the Russian snipers guarding that territory). The mine-fields are fenced with barbed wire and marked with warning signs – “Mines”.
We expect the second OSCE military observer mission under Danish chairmanship, which is currently concluding its field visit in Ukraine to report further on this issue and provide additional evidences of land-mines use by Russia on the territory of Ukraine.

Being a responsible State Party of the Ottawa Treaty, Ukraine remains adherent to its international obligations and is ready to undertake all necessary measures to destroy anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction. However, this could be done only after my country will regain control of the territory currently occupied by the aggressor.

Mr. Chairman,
My delegation would also like to highlight additional consequences of the military intervention of the Russian Federation into the territory of Ukraine related to the topic of our meeting.

Following unlawful occupation of Autonomous Republic of Crimea the Russian Armed Forces laid hands on 605 APLs of OZM-4 type by violently seizing Ukrainian military depot in the Saki Region of Crimea. This happened just after the so-called “referendum on independence of Crimea” of March 16, 2014 orchestrated by Moscow when the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation began taking over Ukrainian military bases.
Thus, the OZM-4 mines, those without self-destruction mechanism and with the cast iron fragmenting bodies, appeared to be out of the legal framework of the Ottawa Treaty.

The mentioned APLs were initially retained by the Armed Forces of Ukraine under Article 5 of the Treaty for the development of and training in mine detection, mine clearance and mine destruction techniques. This information was repeatedly provided by Ukraine in Form D of its annual reports.
Thank you.