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Last Updated: 19 October 2014

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Ukraine is affected by mines and other ordnance, mostly as a result of heavy fighting between German and Soviet forces in World War II, but also from World War I. Ministry of Defense engineering units completed partial clearance of affected areas in the mid-1970s, but demining operations continue to this day. The precise scope of any residual mine problem is not known. In its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports, Ukraine has declared no known or suspected areas containing antipersonnel mines under its jurisdiction or control.[1]

In the first half of 2014, escalating violence erupted between Ukrainian government forces and armed insurgents in the Crimean peninsula and in the east of the country.[2] The full extent of contamination from explosive remnants of war and other ordnance will remain unclear until the cessation of hostilities.


In March 2014, Ukraine reported that Russian Armed Forces had laid minefields in the Crimea and the neighboring region of Kherson. Ukraine claimed that between 7–9 March 2014, an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) inspection team “observed preparations for fencing, survey sticks of post holes and mine warning signs.” Mines were claimed to have been laid 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,” including type TM-62 antitank mines and antipersonnel mines. It was further claimed that 605 anti-personnel mines type OZM-4 had been seized from a “Ukrainian military depot in the Saki region of Crimea.”[3]

Cluster munition remnants and other explosive remnants of war

In July 2014, evidence emerged that indicated ground-launched cluster munitions were used in two separate locations, Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, in eastern Ukraine. It is unclear who is responsible for the use of cluster munitions.[4]

Despite continuing clearance operations, Ukraine is affected by explosive remnants of war (ERW)—both unexploded ordnance (UXO) and abandoned explosive ordnance—resulting from World War I, World War II, and Soviet military training, across “large areas in remote places.”[5] Casualties continue to occur from ERW. In 2012, 22 ERW casualties were identified in Ukraine—of whom, all were civilians, including six children.[6]

The ERW problem includes World War II ammunition storage areas, particularly around the towns of Kerch and Sevastopol, where munitions were stored in “adits,” horizontal passageway tunnels in hills or mountainsides. These tunnels were used as munitions depots by the Soviet Army during World War II and were blown up in 1942 before the Soviet Army left the area. Clearance of the adit tunnels is expected to take between 10 and 20 years to complete.[7] Jankoy, Krasnoperekopsk, and Leninsky districts are also said to be highly affected.[8] As of April 2014, Ukraine estimates that 34 former military sites of a total area of 153,000 hectares (1.53km2) remained to be cleared.[9]

Underwater munitions, including naval mines from World War II, have been found in near Kerch on the Azov Sea, and near Odessa and Sevastopol on the Black Sea.[10] Clearance operations in these areas were suspended in 2014 due to the ongoing conflict.[11]

Mine Action Program

 Key institutions and operators


Situation on 1 April 2014

National Mine Action Authority

None, although an interministerial working group continues to operate

Mine action center

None, although the Ministry of Defense has a training center

International operators


National operators

Ministry of Defense

Ministry of Emergency Situations (GSCHS)

Border Guard Service

Ukroboronservice (commercial company)

There is no formal national mine action authority (NMAA) in Ukraine, although an interministerial working group was set up by the Cabinet of Ministers in February 2006. On 25 December 2009, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issued an order that tasked the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Emergency Situations, and Ukroboron service to put forward proposals by mid-April 2010 regarding the establishment of a national body for demining.[12] In April 2014, it was reported that Ukraine had “performed activities” to establish an NMAA within the Ministry of Defense.[13]

The GSCHS is generally responsible for clearance of affected territories, with the exception of those allocated to the other ministries and bodies. The Ministry of Defense is responsible for all areas where military units, educational institutions, companies, or organizations belonging to the armed forces are permanently located. The Engineering Division of the Ministry of Defense conducts UXO spot tasks. Ukroboronservice acts as a subcontractor for both ministries in survey and disposal of ERW as well as conducting survey and clearance of construction sites. The national Border Guard Service conducts demining in areas under its control on land and in the sea.

In 2001, the armed forces set up a demining center for the training of deminers at the Military Engineering Institute of Podolsk Agrar Technical University in Kamenez-Podolskiy. Since 2007, the center has been collecting and analyzing data on explosive hazards and demining and functioning as a separate military entity.[14]

In 2013, the Demining Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine employed 48 full-time demining teams as well as three “special teams” which constitute part of the Engineers Division of the Armed Forces. In addition, the GSCHS formed 40 demining teams with a total of 490 personnel.[15]

The Cabinet of Ministers Decree No. 131 of 18 February 2009 adopted the State Program for Demining by the Ministry of Emergency Situations for 2009–2014.[16] The program foresees clearance of 15km2 over five years with the destruction of 500,000 ERW. Mine clearance is carried out in accordance with the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS).

Land Release

Ukraine did not report any release of mined areas or areas contaminated by cluster munitions in 2013.

Clearance of explosive remnants of war in 2013

In 2013, Ukraine reported clearance of a total of 594 hectares (5.94km2) of area contaminated with ERW, destroying in the process 100,000 “explosive devices.” Clearance of one former artillery base accounted for almost 38% of the total area cleared.[17]

In 2012, demining units of the GSCHS conducted 380 tasks destroying more than 220,000 items of ERW, including 2,143 aircraft bombs, and reportedly cleared an area of over 1,840 hectares (18.4km2).[18]

Article 5 Compliance

Ukraine has declared no known or suspected areas containing antipersonnel mines under its jurisdiction or control.[19]

In the case of the discovery of new antipersonnel mined areas in Ukraine as a result of the ongoing hostilities, under the process agreed by States Parties at the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention in December 2012, Ukraine should inform States Parties of their discovery and location and undertake to destroy or ensure the destruction of all antipersonnel mines in the mined areas as soon as possible.[20] In addition, Ukraine would be required to submit an extension request for no longer than 10 years.


[1] See for example, Ukraine’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports, Form C. Ukraine’s national reports under Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II list information on mined areas as “missing” (see CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, for the year 2013).

[2] Violence erupted in eastern Ukraine following the February 21, 2014 ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich. By mid-March, armed groups initially calling themselves “self-defense units” seized and occupied administrative buildings in several cities, towns, and villages in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The Ukrainian government’s counter-insurgency operations in these regions have intensified since the country’s 25 May 2014 presidential elections and were continuing as of August 2014.

[3] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Compliance, Geneva, 9 April 2014.

[4] For more information, see the Cluster Munition Ban Policy profile on the Monitor website.

[5] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Compliance, Geneva, 9 April 2014.

[6] CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report, Form C, 27 March 2013.

[8] Ministry of Emergency Situations (Crimea), “Explosive Snowdrops,” 12 March 2009.

[9] Statement of Ukraine, Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War Meeting of Experts, Geneva, 3 April 2014 (audio only).

[10] See for example, UN, “United Nations Mine Action Inter-Agency Assessment Mission to Ukraine, 12–17 December 2005,” Draft report, June 2006, p. 3.

[11] Statement of Ukraine, Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War Meeting of Experts, Geneva, 3 April 2014 (audio only).

[12] Cabinet of Ministers Order No. 73471/1/1-09, 25 December 2009.

[13] CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report, Form A, 27 March 2013.

[15] Statement of Ukraine, Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War, Meeting of Experts, Geneva, 3 April 2014 (audio only).

[16] Email from Lt.-Col. Vitaliy Baranov, Ministry of Defense, 20 January 2010.

[17] Statement of Ukraine, Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War Meeting of Experts, Geneva, 3 April 2014 (audio only).

[18] Ibid.

[19] See for example, Ukraine’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports, Form C.

[20] Final Report, Twelfth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 3–7 December 2012, APLC/MSP.12/2012/10, 21 January 2013, para 28(a)–(c), p. 10.