Last Updated: 11 October 2012

Mine Ban Policy

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

Not a State Party

Pro-mine ban UNGA voting record

Abstained on Resolution 66/29 in December 2011

Participation in Mine Ban Treaty meetings

Did not attend any Mine Ban Treaty meetings in 2011 or the first half of 2012


The Russian Federation has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. In December 2009, a Russian diplomat reiterated that Russia has not been able to accede due to the military utility of antipersonnel mines, the lack of viable alternatives, and the financial difficulties in destroying its large stockpile within four years.[1]

However, Russia has also expressed support for the treaty’s humanitarian objectives.[2] In June 2009, a Russian official said that Russia is committed to the objective of a mine-free world, but stressed that any prohibition must take into account national security considerations. According to the official, Russia’s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty is dependent on “solving a number of technical, financial and other tasks” related to implementation.[3] In December 2010, Russia said it “did not exclude the possibility of joining the treaty in the future,” but that this required an incremental approach.[4]

Russia attended as an observer the Tenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November–December 2010, where it made a statement for the first time at an annual meeting for the Mine Ban Treaty. A Geneva-based disarmament diplomat delivered a statement during the session on universalization that largely mirrored the policy points noted above. The statement also emphasized that Russia was open to work with civil society and NGOs on the mine issue, giving as an example the deputy foreign minister’s letter delivered to the ICBL at the beginning of the meeting.[5] However, Russia did not participate in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings of the treaty in Geneva in June 2011 and May 2012, and the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties in Phnom Penh in November-December 2011.

Russia is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on mines.[6] It submitted its most recent national annual report as required by Article 13 on 15 March 2012 covering the period from 2011 to 2012. Russia is also a party to CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Russia reports that in order to comply with Amended Protocol II, a “National System of Technical Requirements for Landmines including antipersonnel and other than antipersonnel ones was elaborated and adopted; planned disposal of obsolete landmines is underway; new, more effective types of detection and demining tools are developed and commissioned. Marking of mine fields at the national boarder of the Russian Federation is fulfilled in full compliance with Paragraph 1 of the RF Federal Law #158FZ of December 7, 2004, ‘On Ratification of Amended Protocol II.…’”[7]

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and destruction

Russia has produced at least 10 types of antipersonnel mines since 1992, including blast mines (PMN, PMN-2, PMN-4, and PFM-1S) and fragmentation mines (POMZ-2, OZM-72, MON-50, MON-90, MON-100, and MON-200). Russia has stated on several occasions that its production of blast mines stopped in 1997.[8] Russia has been conducting research on new mines, modifications to existing mines, and alternatives to mines since at least 1997.[9]

Russia has had a moratorium since 1 December 1994 on the export of antipersonnel mines that are not detectable or not equipped with self-destruct devices. The moratorium formally expired in 2002, but Russian officials have stated, most recently in June 2009, that it is still being observed.[10] Russia is not known to have made any state-approved transfers of any type of antipersonnel mine since 1994. Antipersonnel mines of Soviet/Russian origin have been found emplaced in at least 29 mine-affected countries.[11] In the first few months of 2012, the Syrian army planted landmines of Soviet/Russian origin, including PMN-2 antipersonnel mines and TMN-46 antivehicle mines, along its borders with Lebanon and Turkey.[12]

In November 2004 Russia released official information for the first time on the number of antipersonnel mines in its stockpiles, when Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov cited a figure of 26.5 million. The minister forecast that approximately 23.5 million of these antipersonnel mines would be destroyed between 2005 and 2015.[13] At the Tenth Mine Ban Treaty Meeting of States Parties, Russia declared that it has destroyed 10 million mines, including antipersonnel mines.[14] In 2010 only, more than 464,000 antipersonnel mines that did not meet international requirements were also destroyed.[15]

Russian officials have acknowledged that Russian military units in other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States maintain antipersonnel mine stockpiles, such as 18,200 in Tajikistan and an unknown number in Georgia (Abkhazia).[16]


Since 1999, Russian forces have used antipersonnel mines in Chechnya, but also at times in Dagestan, Tajikistan, and on the border with Georgia.[17] Russia has argued that its mine use has been necessary to stop flows of weapons, drugs, and terrorists, and maintained that it has been in full compliance with CCW Amended Protocol II on landmines.[18]

In June 2006, Russian officials confirmed to the Monitor that Russian forces continued to use antipersonnel mines in Chechnya, both newly-laid mines and existing defensive minefields.[19] In 2010, the Monitor ceased identifying Russia as a user of antipersonnel mines. This was the first time since the inception of the Monitor in 1999 that Russia has not been listed as a user. There have been no reported instances of mines use through October 2012.

The Russian domestic media regularly reports stories of bombings and attacks against state structures conducted by insurgent, separatist, or criminal groups in the Caucasus regions of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, and other locations. While many reports referred to “landmines,” it appears that in most cases armed groups used command-detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), time-delay bombs, or antivehicle mines, according to available information in media reports. The Monitor has not conclusively identified specific instances of new use of antipersonnel mines by non-state armed groups in Russia since 2007.[20]


[1] Russia has often said this in the past. The diplomat also asserted that Russia fully abides by the requirements of CCW Amended Protocol II. Interview with Georgy Todua, Minister Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Colombia, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.

[2] Russia stated in November 2006 that “a mine-free world remains our common goal. Nonetheless, we have noted on several occasions that our movement towards this goal has to be realistic and gradual, sustaining the necessary level of security and stability.” Statement of Russia, CCW Amended Protocol II Eighth Annual Conference of States Parties, Geneva, 6 November 2006.

[3] Interview with Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, Moscow, June 2009. These views were reiterated in an official letter in 2010. Letter from Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, 29 November 2010.

[4] Statement of Russia, Mine Ban Treaty Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 December 2010. Notes by ICBL.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Russia submitted a series of declarations with its ratification instrument that will guide its national implementation of Amended Protocol II. For details of the declarations, see Landmine Monitor Report 2005, pp. 854–855. Russia used Amended Protocol II’s optional nine-year extension to defer (until 3 December 2007) its compliance with the protocol’s technical requirements for self-destruct and self-deactivation mechanisms for remotely-delivered antipersonnel mines and detectability for antipersonnel mines.

[7] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form C, 30 September 2009.

[8] See, for example, Statement of Russia, CCW Amended Protocol II Tenth Annual Conference of States Parties, Geneva, 12 November 2008.

[9] In 2004, Russia said it had spent or planned to spend RUB3.33 billion (US$115.62 million) on research, development, and production of new engineer munitions, including alternatives to antipersonnel mines. Statement by Sergei Ivanov, Minister of Defense, parliamentary hearings on ratification of Amended Protocol II, 23 November 2004. Average exchange rate for 2004: RUB1=US$0.03472. Oanda,

[10] Interview with Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, Moscow, June 2009.

[11] Countries in which Soviet/Russian antipersonnel mines have been found are: Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

[12] Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Syria: Army Planting Banned Landmines: Witnesses Describe Troops Placing Mines Near Turkey, Lebanon Borders,” Press Release, 13 March 2012, New York,, accessed 26 September 2012.

[13] Statement by Sergei Ivanov, parliamentary hearings on ratification of CCW Amended Protocol II, 23 November 2004. He said that in 2000 Russia stockpiled 46 million antipersonnel mines but had since destroyed or disposed of about 19.5 million of them.

[14] Statement of Russia, Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 2 December 2010. Notes by ICBL.

[15] Article 13 Report, Form B, 1 March 2011.

[16] In each of its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports since 2003, Tajikistan has reported that intergovernmental talks are “currently underway” to clarify and complete data collection regarding these Russian mines.

[17] For a summary of past use, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1,186–1,187. Russia has denied any use of antipersonnel mines during the conflict in 2008 with Georgia over South Ossetia. HRW investigations could find no evidence of use of mines. See Landmine Monitor Report 2009, p. 1,069.

[18] See, for example, Statement by Amb. Anatoly I. Antonov, CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE), Sixth Session, Geneva, 18 November 2003.

[19] Interview with Russian delegation to the CCW GGE, Sixth Session, Geneva, 23 June 2006. They insisted that all use of antipersonnel mines “complies with Amended Protocol II,” that “all necessary documentation for minefields is retained,” and that all minefields “are fenced and the civilian population informed.” Russia regularly acknowledged using antipersonnel mines in Chechnya in the past.

Last Updated: 05 September 2013

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

The Russian Federation has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Russia did not make any statements to provide its views on the convention in 2012 or the first half of 2013. In November 2011, Russia stated that cluster munitions play “a very substantive role” in its defense and “cannot be abandoned yet” due to their “defensive role.” In Russia’s view, “cluster munitions still preserve their status of non-prohibited weapon.”[1] Russia has conceded on several occasions that cluster munitions cause serious humanitarian harm, but it has argued that technical improvements to the weapon coupled with their “appropriate application,” can reduce the humanitarian risks associated with their use.[2]

Russia is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and, after opposing any CCW discussion on cluster munitions for years, changed its position in 2011 to support an effort led by the United States (US) to conclude a new CCW protocol on cluster munitions.[3] It is not known if Russia has reviewed its position on joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions since the CCW’s 2011 failure to agree on a cluster munitions protocol.

Russia did not participate in the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[4] When the convention was opened for signature in 2008, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that cluster munitions were “a legitimate type of weapon that is not banned by international humanitarian law and plays a significant role in the defense interests of Russia…. We are against unjustified restrictions and bans on cluster munitions.”[5]

Since 2008, Russia has shown limited interest in the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It attended the convention’s meetings of States Parties in 2010 and 2011 as an observer but did not participate in the Third Meeting of States in Oslo, Norway in September 2012. Russia attended intersessional meetings of the convention in Geneva in April 2012 but did not attend those held in April 2013. Russia did not make a statement at any of these meetings.

Russia is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty.


The Soviet Union used cluster munitions in 1943 against German Armed Forces during World War II and from 1979–1989 in Afghanistan.[6] Russian forces also used cluster munitions in Chechnya from 1994–1996 and again in 1999.[7]

Russia most recently used cluster munitions in the August 2008 conflict with Georgia. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Russian cluster munition strikes on populated areas killed 12 civilians and injured 46 more. Clearance personnel have found Russian air-dropped AO-2.5 RTM and rocket-delivered 9N210 submunitions, delivered by RBK aerial bombs and Uragan ground rockets, respectively. Russia used cluster munitions in or near nine towns and villages in the Gori-Tskhinvali corridor south of the South Ossetian administrative border.[8] Russia has denied using cluster munitions in Georgia.[9]

The Netherlands has sought accountability and investigation into the death of Dutch journalist Stan Storimans, who was killed by a Russian cluster munition strike in Georgia in August 2008.[10] Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to look into the request for an investigation after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte raised the need for progress in the investigation with him on 9 April 2013.[11] But when Prime Minister Rutte raised the matter again with President Putin in July 2013, Putin said that Russia considers “the book is closed now” and stated that Russian authorities do not intend to conduct an investigation.[12]

Production and transfer

Russia, and historically the Soviet Union, is a major producer and exporter of cluster munitions. Additionally, a number of states inherited stocks of cluster munitions when the Soviet Union dissolved. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Our records on the production, usage, and export of cluster munitions…are confidential and will not be publicized.”[13]

According to international technical reference materials, the following Russian companies are associated with the production of cluster munitions: Bazalt State Research and Production Enterprise (air-dropped bombs), Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (120mm, 152mm, and 203mm artillery projectiles), and Splav State Research and Production Enterprise Rocket (122mm, 220mm, and 300mm rockets).[14]

Cluster munitions of Russian/Soviet origin have been reported in the stockpiles of at least 35 states, including 25 that are not yet States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions:[15] Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia,[16] Guinea, India,[17] Iran, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Kuwait,[18] Libya,[19] Mongolia, Poland,[20] Romania, Slovakia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Ukraine,[21] Uzbekistan, and Yemen. In addition, Russian cluster munitions have been identified in Sudan, although the government of Sudan has denied having a stockpile.[22]

RBK series bombs containing a variety of submunition types appear to account for the majority of cluster munitions used by the Syrian government, particularly RBK-250 PTAB-2.5M cluster bombs and RBK-250 AO-1SCh cluster bombs. The munitions appear to be old stock, manufactured at Soviet state munitions factories in the 1970s and early 1980s.[23] In October 2012, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, denied that “Russian-made” cluster bombs were being used in Syria, stating there was “no confirmation” of use and noting it was “difficult” to establish where the cluster munitions came from.[24]

Of the 11 States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions that have stockpiled cluster munitions of Russian/Soviet origin, all except Iraq and Peru[25] have formally declared the stocks, providing types and quantities: Bulgaria,[26] Côte d’Ivoire,[27] Croatia,[28] Czech Republic,[29] Hungary,[30] Guinea-Bissau, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia),[31] Moldova,[32] and Mozambique.[33]

The types of cluster munitions produced in the USSR or Russia that have been declared by States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions are detailed in the following table:

Types and quantities of Soviet/Russian cluster munitions in declared stockpiles[34]

Type of cluster munition

Name of cluster munition

Submunition name

States declaring stockpiles (quantity of cluster munitions)


RBK-250 PTAB-2.5M


Bulgaria (488), Croatia (9), Moldova (14), Hungary (17), Mozambique (193)

RBK-250 ZAB-2.5M


Bulgaria (60), Croatia (44)

RBK-250-275 AO-1 SCh


Bulgaria (238), Croatia (5), Moldova (24), Côte d’Ivoire (68), Mozambique (97)

RBK-500 AO2.5RT


Bulgaria (201), Moldova (16), Czech Republic (191)

RBK-500 ShOAB-0.5M


Bulgaria (36)

RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM


Bulgaria (86)

RBK-500-255 PTAB-10.5


Moldova (8)

RBK-500-255 PTAB-2.5


Moldova (16)




Bulgaria (31,356), Croatia (17,376)



Bulgaria (19,108), FYR Macedonia




Moldova (834)




Bulgaria (8)




Moldova (473)


Russia has acknowledged possessing a “large stockpile” of cluster munitions “stored throughout the state,” and has said that the disposal of a wide range of obsolete cluster munitions types would be time-consuming and result in “a significant financial expenditure,” comparable to the US$2.2 billion that the US has estimated it will cost to destroy its stockpile.[35] At the Fourth CCW Review Conference in November 2011, Russia stated that the size of its cluster munitions stockpile is similar to that of the US, which has a reported 5.5 million cluster munitions.[36]

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The quantity and types of cluster munitions stockpiled in the Russian Ministry of Defence are confidential and will not be publicized.”[37] The following chart is based on a wide variety of publicly available sources.

Cluster munitions stockpiled by the Russian Federation[38]



Carrier name

Number of submunitions

Submunition type



































RBK-250 ZAB-2.5



RBK-250 PTAB-2.5M



RBK 250-275 AO-2.5RT



RBK 250-275 AO-2.5-2RTM



RBK 250-275 AO-1SCh



RBK 250-275 PTAB 2.5M



RBK-500 AO-2.5RT



RBK-500 AO-2.5RTM



RBK-500 PTAB 2.5



RBK-500 PTAB 2.5M



RBK-500 SHOAB-0.5






RBK-500 ZAB 2.5



RBK-500 ZAB 2.5SM














Grad (9M218)





Grad (9M217)





Uragan (9M27K)


9N210 dual-purpose



Smerch (9M55K)


9N235 fragmentation



Smerch (9M55K1)





Smerch (9M55K5)





9K52 Luna-M with 9N18K


9N22 Fragmentation


9M79 Tochka with 9N123K


9N24 Fragmentation


Note: FAE = fuel air explosive; HE/AT=high explosive antitank;

SFW =  sensor-fuzed weapon


[1] Statement of the Russian Federation, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Fourth Review Conference, Geneva, 24 November 2011. Notes by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

[2] Statement by Amb. Anatoly I. Antonov, Head of the Russian Delegation, CCW Meeting of the High Contracting Parties, Geneva, 25 November 2010. Unofficial translation by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[3] At the Third CCW Review Conference in 2006, Russia stated, “We cannot accept the logic of restrictions or even bans on ammunition artificially and groundlessly declared as the most ‘dangerous weapons.’ This path would lead us to a stalemate. It could only result in a split and weaken the [CCW] and its Protocols.” Statement by Anatoly I. Antonov, then-Director, Department for Security Affairs and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CCW Third Review Conference, Geneva, 7 November 2006. In 2005, Russia argued that the humanitarian problems associated with cluster munition use are “mythical” and asserted that submunitions can be accurately targeted to minimize civilian damage. Presentation of the Russian Federation, “Cluster Weapons: Real or Mythical Threat,” CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 2–12 August 2005, p. 3.

[4] Russia attended a regional meeting held during the Oslo Process as an observer (in Brussels in October 2007). For details on Russia’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 230–235.

[5] “Russia explains refusal to join cluster bombs convention,” Interfax: Russia & CIS Military Newswire, 8 December 2008. Similar language was used in a September 2009 letter to the CMC. See letter from Sergey Ryabkov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the CMC, 18 September 2009. Unofficial translation by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[6] Mennonite Central Committee, “Drop Today, Kill Tomorrow: Cluster Munitions as Inhumane and Indiscriminate Weapons,” June 1999, p. 5, Additionally, cluster munitions were also used by various forces in several conflicts that resulted from the breakup of the Soviet Union in Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Tajikistan. The degree of involvement of Russian forces in the use of cluster munitions is not known but cannot be discounted.

[7] Mennonite Central Committee, “Clusters of Death: The Mennonite Central Committee Cluster Bomb Report,” July 2000, Chapter 3,

[8] See HRW, “A Dying Practice: Use of Cluster Munitions by Russia and Georgia in August 2008,” April 2009,

[9] Ibid; and see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 232–233.

[10] The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided Russian authorities with a report by an independent commission that investigated the incident and concluded that a Russian cluster munition strike killed Storimans. “Verslag onderzoeksmissie Storimans” (“Storimans commission of inquiry report”), 24 October 2008,

[11] “Excuses Poetin in zaak-Storimans” (“Apologies from Putin in Storimans case”), Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), 9 April 2013,

[12] Jeroen Akkermans, “Het kan Rusland in feite geen barst schelen” (“Russia actually doesn’t give a damn”), RT Nieuws, 10 July 2013,

[13] Letter from Sergey Ryabkov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to HRW, 20 March 2009.

[14] The primary sources for information on Russian companies that produce cluster munitions are Jane’s Air Launched Weapons and Jane’s Ammunition Handbook. Splav State Research and Production Enterprise Rocket details the numerous types of rockets it produced at

[15] Unless otherwise footnoted with supplementary information, the source is Jane’s Information Group.

[16] The Georgian Ministry of Defense reports having RBK-500 cluster munitions and BKF blocks of submunitions that are carried in KMG-U dispensers, but told HRW that their shelf-lives have expired and they are slated for destruction. Response to Monitor questionnaire by Georgian Ministry of Defense, 12 February 2009.

[17] In February 2006, India bought 28 launch units for the 300mm Smerch multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) fitted with dual purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) and sensor-fuzed submunitions. “India, Russia sign $500mn [sic] rocket systems deal,” Indo-Asian News Service (New Delhi), 9 February 2006.

[18] In 1995, Kuwait was the first export customer for the Russian produced 300mm Smerch MLRS fitted with DPCIM and sensor-fuzed submunitions, buying 27 launch units. “Kuwait to get smart submunitions for Smerch MRL,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 21 April 1995.

[19] HRW observed PTAB submunitions at the abandoned ammunitions storage depot at Mizdah during a visit in March 2012. See HRW, “Statement on Explosive Remnants of War in Libya and Implementation of CCW Protocol V,” 25 April 2012, In addition, deminers from the Mines Advisory Group encountered dud PTAB submunitions about 20 miles from Ajdjabiya. See CJ Chivers, “More Evidence of Cluster-Bomb Use Discovered in Libya,” At War blog, 13 February 2012,

[20] The Polish Air Force possesses “BKF expendable unit loader with anti-tank, incendiary and fragmentation bomblets, imported from USSR.” Letter from Adam Kobieracki, Director, Security Policy Department, Poland Ministry of Foreign Affairs to HRW, 10 March 2009.

[21] Presentation of Ukraine, “Impact of the CCW Draft Protocol VI (current version)” on Ukraine’s Defense Capacity, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 30 March 2011.

[22] For example, independent journalist Aris Roussinos filmed and photographed a failed RBK-500 AO-2.5RT cluster bomb near the village of Ongolo in South Kodorfan in April 2012. See HRW, “Sudan: Cluster Bomb Found in Conflict Zone,” 25 May 2012,

[23] HRW press release, “Syria: Mounting Casualties from Cluster Munitions,” 16 March 2013,

[24] New York Times correspondent C.J. Chivers noted: “The only charitable way to characterize that denial is to offer that perhaps Mr. Lavrov was engaging in misdirection by word play, as these weapons, by their date stamps, appeared to have been manufactured during the late Soviet period, and not during the period of the current, post-union Russian state.” The Gun blog, “Data Sharing: The ATK-EB Fuze,” 28 December 2012,

[25] In May 2007 it was disclosed that the Peruvian Air Force possesses stockpiles of RBK-500 bombs. Ángel Páez, “Peru se suma a iniciativa mundial para prohibir y destruir las ‘bombas de racimo’” (“Peru joins global initiative to ban and destroy the ‘cluster bombs’”), La Republica, 29 May 2007. HRW was shown photographs of these cluster munitions by a member of the national media in May 2007. See also, Ángel Páez, “Se eliminaran las bombas de racimo” (“Cluster bombs will be eliminated”), La Republica, 29 May 2007.

[26] Bulgaria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2013,$file/Bulgaria+CCM+2012.pdf. Bulgaria has declared RBK series bombs containing a variety of submunition types, including 488 RBK-250 bombs with 20,538 PTAB-2.5M, 238 RBK 250-275 bombs containing 35,700 AO-1SCh submunitions, one RBK-250-275 bomb with AO-2.5SCh submunitions, 60 RBK-250 bombs with 2,880 ZAB-2.5SM, 201 RBK-500 bombs with 12,060 AO-2.5RT, 86 RBK-500 bombs with 4,725 ZAB-2.5SM, 36 RBK-500 bombs with 20,340 SHOAB-0.5M, and 3 RBK-500 bombs with 1,695 SHOAB-0.5. It also declares eight warheads for 9N123K surface-to-surface missiles, and 400 9N24 submunitions.

[27] Statement of Côte d’Ivoire, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, Geneva, Switzerland, 17 April 2013. Côte d’Ivoire destroyed a total of 68 RBK-250-275 cluster bombs, each containing 150 AO-1SCh submunitions, between 28 January 2013 and 6 February 2013, with the assistance of the UN Mine Action Service.

[28] Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms B and C, 2 May 2013,$file/Croatia+2012+CCM.pdf; and  Forms B and C, 10 April 2012,$file/CROATIA+2011.pdf. Croatia has declared a stockpile that includes RBK series bombs: nine RBK-250 bombs containing 415 PTAB-2.5M submunitions, five RBK-250-275 bombs containing 897 AO-1SCh submunitions, and 44 RBK-250 bombs containing 2,112 ZAB-2.5M submunitions.

[29] Czech Republic, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 28 August 2012,$file/Czech+Republic+2011.pdf. Prior to its destruction, the Czech Republic’s stockpile included 191 RBK-500 cluster bombs (containing PTAB-2.5, AO-10, and AO-2.5RT submunitions) and 289 BFK cartridges or “blocks” containing AO-2.5RT, and PTAB-2.5 submunitions for KMG-U dispensers.

[30] Hungary, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 8 April 2013,$file/HU+CCM+art+7+initial+report.pdf. Hungary has declared the destruction of 287 cluster bombs containing a total of 3,954 submunitions of three types: 247 BKF blocks containing 2,964 AO-2.5 submunitions, 23 BKF blocks containing 276 PTAB-2.5KO submunitions, and 17 RBK-250 cluster bombs containing 714 PTAB-2.5M submunitions.

[31] FYR Macedonia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms B and C, 2 May 2013,$file/Macedonia+2012.pdf. FYR Macedonia has declared a stockpile of 40,376 submunitions: 23,000 KB-2 submunitions and 17,376 AO-2.5RT submunitions contained in BKF cartridges.

[32] Moldova, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 27 January 2011,$file/Moldova.pdf. Moldova reported destroying a stockpile of 1,385 cluster munitions with more than 27,000 submunitions in July 2010, including RBK series bombs containing PTAB, AO-2.5, and AO-1SCh submunitions. It also destroyed 473 9M27K rockets, each containing 30 9N210 self-destructing submunitions and 834 3-O-13 artillery projectiles, each containing eight O-16 submunitions.

[33] Mozambique, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, June 2012,$file/Mozambique+2011.pdf. Mozambique has declared a stockpile of 97 RBK-250 bombs containing 14,550 AO-1SCh submunitions and 193 RBK-250 bombs, each containing 8,106 PTAB submunitions.

[34] All information in this table was extracted from Article 7 reports submitted so far by States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, available at: The RBK-250 bombs containing ZAB series incendiary submunitions are not covered by the Convention on Cluster Munitions because they contain incendiary submunitions.

[35] Statement of the Russian Federation, CCW Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 12 November 2009. Notes by Landmine Action.

[36] Statement of the Russian Federation, CCW Fourth Review Conference, Geneva, 18 November 2011. Notes by HRW. An October 2004 report to the US Congress by the US Department of Defense disclosed a stockpile of 5.5 million cluster munitions containing about 728.5 million submunitions.

[37] Letter from Sergey Ryabkov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to HRW, 20 March 2009.

[38] The data in this table comes from the following sources: Publishing House ‘Arms and Technologies’ & Information Centre of Defence Technologies and Safety, “The XXI Century Encyclopedia, ‘Russia’s Arms and Technologies’, Volume 12: Ordnance and Munitions” CD Version 2006.1eng; Robert Hewson, ed., Janes AirLaunched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), pp. 414–415, and 422–432; Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2007), pp. 572, 597–598, 683, 703–706, 715–716, and 722–723; US Defense Intelligence Agency, “Improved Conventional Munitions and Selected Controlled-Fragmentation Munitions (Current and Projected),” partially declassified and made available to HRW under a Freedom of Information Act request; and “Russia’s Arms Catalog: Volume IV, Precision Guided Weapons and Ammunition, 1996–1997,” (Military Parade: Moscow), 1997, pp. 138–139, 148–152, 373–392, 504, and 515–516. This research has been supplemented by information found on the Splav State Research and Production Enterprise corporate website:

Last Updated: 17 December 2012

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Russia is heavily contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), much of it resulting from World War II and also from conflict in the North Caucasus since the early 1990s.


Mines have been used extensively in the two major conflicts in Chechnya. Estimates of the number vary greatly because there has been no effort to comprehensively assess the scope or impact of the problem.[1]In 2006, UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) discussed with the Chechen Government the possibility of providing technical support for mine and ERW impact survey, but they did not receive an official request from the Government. As of end-April 2011, according to the UNICEF-supported database, 3,132 civilians, including 772 children, have been killed (731) or wounded (2,401) by mines and ERW in Chechnya since 1994. Data collection in Chechnya, which was conducted by a local NGO partner Voice of the Mountains, was suspended in January 2011 due to lack of funding.[2]

Russia’s deputy prime minister and presidential special envoy to the Caucasus, Aleksandr Khloponin, claimed in 2010 that mine contamination affected 14km2 of land and posed a major obstacle to development.[3]In contrast, Chechen officials and human rights organizations have previously estimated that 245km2 of land was mine-affected, including 165km2of farmland and 73km2of woodland.[4]Chechen officials say some 2.5% of Chechnya’s total agricultural land is unusable because of mine and ERW contamination.[5]

Cluster munition remnants

Cluster munitions were used extensively by Russian Federation forces in Chechnya, during the 1994–1996 conflict and again during the recurrence of hostilities in 1999.[6] The extent of residual contamination from cluster munition remnants is not known.

Other explosive remnants of war

Russia contends with ERW from World War II in many areas but the extent is not known. In 2011, Russia’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Protocol V transparency report recorded clearance in 2010 in Amur, Kirov, and Penza regions as well as in Chechnya and around the city of Ulyanov.[7] In the North Caucasus, ERW are also said to be a significant problem in Daghestan, especially in Botlikh, Buynaksk, and Novolaksky districts.[8] A World War II barge discovered in 2010 off the coast of the western enclave of Kalingrad was reported to contain more than 10,000 items of ordnance.[9]

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators


Situation on 1 January 2012

National Mine Action Authority


Mine action center

None, although “special committee” set up in Chechnya

International demining operators


National demining operators

Ministries of Defense, Emergency Situations, and of Internal Affairs

There is no formal civilian mine action program in Russia and no national mine action authority. Mine clearance is carried out by Federal Ministry of Defense engineers, demining brigades of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and by the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES)[10] through its specialized demining units (EMERCOM Demining and the “Leader” Center for Special Tasks).[11]

A special committee to deal with mine and ERW problems has been set up within Chechnya, comprising different ministries.[12]It is not known what concrete actions this committee has carried out.

In 2012, the head of the armed forces’ engineers, Major-General Yuri Stavitsky, reportedly announced that the Federal Ministry of Defense had sent military engineers to Chechnya to undertake clearance of about 0.5km² of farmland. He said a special battalion of deminers employing contract servicemen was undergoing training for deployment in Russia’s southern military district, including Chechnya.[13]

The Ministry of Emergencies Chechnya had said in April 2009 that a unit of Russian deminers would be sent to clear 1.22km2 of agricultural land but there were no reports of follow-up action.[14] On 22 July 2009, the Minister of Emergency Situations, Sergey Shoygu, was reported to have officially stated that “within 10 days” the ministry would set up “special groups” to demine agricultural land in Chechnya. Following this statement, the president of Chechnya stated that all mines and ERW would be cleared from the territory of the republic in “a short time.”[15]

A representative of the Chechen branch of Russia’sMinistry of Emergency Situations claimedin May 2010 that 2.47km² of land had been cleared during the past five years, and that5,143 explosive devices and 21 air-dropped bombs had been“neutralized.”[16]  The same month, however, the Chechen Parliament reportedly resolved to request Moscow formally to assist with clearing minefields in the republic.[17] On 4 November 2010, the Chechen Government announced on its website that the Russian Federal Government had allocated 2.26 billion rubles (some €55 million) to demine agricultural areas in Chechnya.[18]

In 2011, UNICEF continued to raise mine action-related issues at quarterly coordination meetings with government representatives and local and international agencies. These meetings are co-chaired by UNICEF and the UNHCR.[19]

Land Release

Russia has continued to clear ordnance left over from World War II from its territory but has shown little commitment to clearing mines and ERW from Chechnya.

Mine and battle area clearance in 2011

Russia has not reported in detail on clearance operations in Chechnya. Russia’s latest Protocol V report stated that Armed Forces’ engineers destroyed more than 56,050 explosive items in 2011, including 16,720 “mines and grenades,” 17,998 mortar shells, 19,639 artillery shells, and 1,693 other explosive devices. The report said Ministry of Emergencies’ “specialists” conducted clearance in areas totaling 1.1km2 in Baskotorstan and Udmurtia in the Kirov region destroying another 3,791 explosive items. Divers also conducted operations to clear parts of the Dnieper river of World War 2 UXO and other items.[20]

Risk Education

UNICEF supported mine/ERW risk education (RE) in Chechnyauntil the end of December 2010 when it was forced to suspendthe program because of lack of funding.[21] RE continues to be provided in schools as part of the curriculum under a project launched by UNICEF and the Chechen Ministry of Education in 2002.[22] The ICRC reported in April 2012 that it helps local authorities organize mine awareness seminars for children and public education workers.[23]


[1] UN, “2009 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects,” New York, 2008, p. 284.

[2] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, Project Officer, Child Protection, UNICEF Vladikavkaz, 2 May 2011.

[4]MoE sappers to demine arable land in Chechnya,” Kavkazskiyuzel, 3 April 2009; “In Chechnya MES deminers destroyed 25 explosive devices,” Kavkazskiyuzel, 5 October 2009, ; and “Human right activists: 25,000 hectares of Chechen territory are still mine studded,” Kavkazskiyuzel, 7 May 2008.

[5] Valery Dzutsev, “Chechen Officials Press Moscow to Assist with Demining as Blasts Still Claim Lives,” 11 May 2010,

[6] Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions, Government Policy and Practice, Mines Action Canada, May 2009, p. 233.

[7] CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report, Form A, 1 March 2011.

[8] See, for example, UN, “2009 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects,” New York, 2008, p. 284.

[10] See, for example,.: “It is planned to establish special groups for demining of lands within MES,” KavkazskiyUzel, 23 July 2009,

[11] “Autumn demining is completed in Chechnya,” VestiKavkaza, 28 October 2009,

[12] UN, “2009 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects,” New York, 2008, p. 284.

[13]Russia begins mine clearing in Chechnya,” Novosti, 4 April 2012.

[14] “MoE sappers to demine arable land in Chechnya,” Kavkazskiyuzel, 3 April 2009,

[15] “Shoygu agreed to demine Chechnya,” Newsland, 22 July 2009,

[16] Valery Dzutsev, “Chechen Officials Press Moscow to Assist with Demining as Blasts Still Claim Lives,” 11 May 2010,

[18] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF Vladikavkaz, 2 May 2011.

[19] Ibid.

[20] CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report, Form A, 15 March 2012.

[21] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF Vladikavkaz, 2 May 2011.

[22] Ibid.

[23] ICRC responds to long-lasting needs,” Reliefweb Briefing Kit for the Russian Federation, 25 April 2012.

Last Updated: 25 November 2013

Casualties and Victim Assistance


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2012

3,167 civilian mine/ERW casualties (736 killed; 2,431 injured)

Casualties in 2012

23 (2011: 24)

2012 casualties by outcome

2 killed; 21 injured (2011: 10 killed; 14 injured)

2012 casualties by device type

11 undefined mines; 12 other ERW

In 2012, 23 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties were identified in the Russian Federation through media scanning. All recorded casualties in 2012 were male; 11 were boys. Sixteen casualties were civilian, and the other seven were military or police security personnel. Ten of the casualties occurred in Chechnya.

The total number of mine/ERW casualties throughout Russia remains unknown. Casualties from explosives, particularly those involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs), have occurred regularly in Russia due to insurgent use in the North Caucasus and criminal activities throughout the country. Most reported incidents were clearly caused by command-detonated devices. However, in many cases, the types of explosive items involved could not be identified.

Casualty reporting in Chechnya has been more consistent than the rest of the Russian Federation. However, in 2010 the NGO Voice of the Mountains (VoM), which had been supported by UNICEF, ceased active explosive incident surveillance due to a lack of funding.[1]

Under an agreement signed in early 2012 between the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross, the VoM casualty database served as the basis for tracking mine/ERW survivors: 15 members of the Chechen branch of the Russian Red Cross were trained to collect and manage data on mine incidents and the needs of the survivors (200 were interviewed in 2012). While the database was operated and managed by the Russian Red Cross, the ICRC provided quality control of the data collected and entered.[2]

As of the end of 2012, there were at least 3,167 civilian mine/ERW casualties (736 killed; 2,431 injured), including 783 children, since 1994. UNICEF data demonstrated a steady decline in annual casualties in Chechnya from a peak of 713 in the year 2000.[3]

Cluster munitions were reported to have caused at least 638 casualties; 612 of the casualties occurred during strikes in Chechnya (294 killed; 318 injured) in the period from 1994 to the end of 1999. The other 26 casualties were caused by unexploded submunitions and were reported between 1994 and the end of 2007.[4]

Victim Assistance

The total number of mine/ERW survivors is not known, but is in the thousands. Most mine survivors in the Russian Federation are war veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and the South Caucasus, or are civilian casualties in Chechnya. At least 2,413 civilians have been injured by mines/ERW in Chechnya since 1994.[5]

There is no victim assistance coordination in Russia, specifically not in Chechnya which is the most mine/ERW affected area. The Ministry of Health and Social Development is responsible for programs and benefits for persons with disabilities.

 A 2012 agreement between the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross aimed to facilitate support of survivors in Chechnya in cooperation with the ICRC, national authorities, or other international and national organizations.[6]

In 2012, the ICRC provided micro-economic grants, based on data collected under the agreement between the ICRC and the Russian Red Cross, to 52 mine/ERW survivor families in Chechnya. Additionally, at the request of the Vladikavkaz Orthopedic Center the ICRC translated and distributed the Otto Bock manual on orthopedic devices in Russia.[7]

Mine/ERW survivors in Russia are provided with the same services as other persons with disabilities or, in the case of military casualties, as disabled veterans from post-World War II conflicts.[8]

Numerous war veterans’ groups and associations of disabled war veterans in many regions of Russia advocated for improved benefits and implementation of legislation. They also provided services, including physical rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration activities.[9] Civilians with disabilities were entitled to free prostheses and mobility devices as well as free transportation to the place of treatment or rehabilitation in the available network of institutions.[10]

Several laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities or guarantee their rights to equal treatment, but these laws were generally not enforced. Persons with disabilities continued to face discrimination and denial of equal access to education, employment, and social institutions. Legislation requires that buildings be made accessible to persons with disabilities, but the law was not enforced and in practice many buildings were not accessible. In March 2011, Russia adopted a State Program on Accessible Environment for 2011–2015 to provide access to services in healthcare, culture, transport, and information.[11]

Russia ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 25 September 2012.


[1] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, Project Officer, Child Protection, UNICEF, 11 March 2012.

[2] Email from Herbi Elmazi, Regional Weapon Contamination Advisor, ICRC, 12 April 2013.

[3] Monitor media monitoring for 2011; and email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF, 2 May 2011.

[4] Handicap International (HI), Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), p. 85; and ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2007: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, 2007),

[5] This includes the UNICEF cumulative total 1994–April 2011 and Monitor media scanning for 2011.

[6] Email from Herbi Elmazi, ICRC, 12 April 2013.

[7] Ibid., and 23 April 2013.

[8] See previous editions ICBL, “Country Profile: Russia,”

[9] See, for example, All-Russian Public Organization of Invalids from the war in Afghanistan and military trauma,; and All-Russian Public Organization of Veterans of Military Brotherhood,

[11] United States Department of State, “2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Russia,” Washington, DC, 19 April 2013; and Human Rights Watch, “Russia: Reform Domestic Laws on Disability Rights,” 4 May 2012,