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Country Reports
UKRAINE, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mine Ban Policy

Ukraine signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 24 February 1999 but has not ratified it yet. It attended the early treaty preparatory meetings, but did not endorse the pro-ban treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997. It attended the treaty negotiations in Oslo and the treaty signing conference in Ottawa, but only as an observer in each case. However, Ukraine voted in favor of the pro-ban 1996, 1997, and 1998 UN General Assembly resolutions.

Ukraine’s somewhat mixed record in support of a ban reflected the desires of many in the Foreign Ministry to embrace it as a humanitarian and disarmament issue, and the desires of many in the Defense Ministry to hold onto what was regarded as a useful weapon. Perhaps the key stumbling block in signing the treaty, though, was concern about Ukraine’s ability to afford the costs of destroying its significant mine stockpile within four years, as required by the treaty.

After months of diplomatic and technical discussions, on 27 January 1999, an agreement between Canada and Ukraine about cooperation in destruction of Ukraine’s landmine stockpiles was signed. On the same day, President Leonid Kuchma declared that Ukraine would join the Mine Ban Treaty.

On 24 February 1999, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada signed the treaty at the United Nations. In a press release, the Ukrainian government stated: “The decision of the Government of Ukraine to sign this international document...was also made possible due to the agreement reached by the Ukrainian and Canadian sides during a recent visit to Ukraine by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien in January 1999 and reflected in the Memorandum on cooperation between the two Governments towards destruction of anti-personnel landmine stockpiles in Ukraine. Canada took the obligation to assist Ukraine in destroying the [10 million] landmines inherited by it with the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Ukraine began to get rid of the mines in December 1997, even as the Convention was opened for signing at an international conference in Ottawa.”[1]

Ukraine is a state party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Protocol II on landmines, but it has not yet ratified the amended Protocol II (1996). At the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) regional conference in Budapest in March 1998, the Ukrainian representative stated that “Ukraine adheres to the amended Protocol II of the CCW and hopes to ratify it soon.”[2]

Ukraine is also a member of the Conference on Disarmament. It was one of the 22 CD members that in February 1999 jointly called for the appointment of a Special Coordinator on antipersonnel mines, and the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to negotiate a transfer ban.[3]


The Ukraine government states that it does not manufacture landmines and has not since independence. At the Mine Ban Treaty signing conference, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Volodymyr Furkalo said, “It is a know fact that we do not produce these weapons.”[4] During the time of the Soviet Union, Ukraine produced components for Soviet landmines. At the ICBL Budapest conference in March 1998, the Ukrainian representative stated, “Ukraine denies that it currently produces antipersonnel mines but acknowledges that it inherited landmines left by the collapse of the Soviet Union.”[5]

Some sources, perhaps most notably the U.S. State Department in 1993, have identified Ukraine as an antipersonnel mine producer.[6]


The same U.S. State Department communique identified Ukraine as an exporter of antipersonnel mines, though Landmine Monitor is unaware of any documented cases of transfer since independence.[7]

Ukraine enacted a moratorium on the export of antipersonnel mines from August 1995 to September 1999.[8]

It is not believed that Ukraine has imported AP mines, since it inherited such large stocks from the USSR.


Ukraine has approximately 10.1 million AP mines in its stockpiles,[9] inherited after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Weapons, including landmines, had been stored at the Kiev, Odessa and Prikarpatskiy Military Districts. Under the January 1999 agreement, Canada will be providing financial and technical support for destruction; announcement of a destruction plan is expected in 1999. The following types of AP mines have been reported in the Ukrainian stockpile: PMN, PMN-2, PMN-4, OZM-72, MON-50, MON-90, MON-100, MON-200, KSF-l cluster bomb with PFM-1 AP mines, KPOM-2 cluster bomb with POM-2 AP mines, PFM-ls, and the POM-2.[10]

At the signing ceremonies of the Mine Ban Treaty in Ottawa, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada stated: “Today we would welcome any assistance by the State-Parties under Article 6 of the Convention to help destroy our stockpiled landmines.”[11]

In March 1998, Ukraine destroyed 101,028 PFM-1 landmines. On March 18 the first batch of old antipersonnel mines from the Ukrainian Army arsenals was destroyed on the proving ground near Kiev.[12]


The Ukraine Ministry of Defense states that AP mines have not been used on Ukrainian territory since WWII.

Mine Clearance and Mine Awareness

Ukraine is mine affected because of World War II mines and unexploded ordnance, which are generally located in unpopulated areas. The number of mines and UXO left in Ukraine from the war is estimated at 1 million.[13] Some 3 million mines and UXO have already been cleared since World War II. The most heavily mined areas are reported to be Vinnitsa, Ternopol, Zhitomir, Dnepropetrovsk, Kiev, Odessa, Sevastopol, Kerch, and Kharkov.[14]

The demining of Ukrainian territory is carried out by the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Emergency Situations, and Ministry of Interior’s Special Police Demining Teams ( SPDT) of the Bombs Disposal Division. The National Guard and Secret Service of Ukraine also have demining units.[15]

For clearance purposes, Ukrainian territory is divided into 497 areas of responsibility; of these, the Ministry of Defense is responsible for demining 442 areas, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations is responsible for demining in the remaining fifty-five areas.[16]

The Ministry of Defense reports that it cleared 11,818 mines and UXOs were cleared in 1992; 22,533 in 1993; 29,062 in 1994; 26,034 in 1995; 10,420 in 1996; 13,234 in 1997; and 9,539 in 1998.[17]

The Ministry of Interior’s Special Police Demining Teams were created in 1995, and are made up of former military and militia personnel. The SPDTs work in the most densely populated areas of Ukraine. They cleared 11,400 UXOs in 1997 and 13,300 UXOs in 1998.[18]

Exact statistics on clearance by the Ministry of Emergency Situations and other demining units are not available, but MES collects some 3-4,000 mines and UXO each year.

The National Guard and Secret Service of Ukraine also have demining units.

The Ukrainian military, engineering units included, takes an active part in peacekeeping missions. There were Ukrainian engineer companies in the UNPROFOR mission in the former Yugoslavia. Ukrainian deminers conducted demining in Bosnia (Sarajevo, Gorazde, Zepa, Mostar) and Croatia (Topysko, Glina, Petrinja, Zirovac). In 1996, Ukraine participated in the peacekeeping mission in Angola, UNAVEM, and participated in mine clearance operations there.

There are no systematic mine awareness programs in Ukraine. During mine clearance operations, deminers meet with the local population and educate them on the rules of behavior when they come across a UXO.

Landmine Casualties

More than 1,500 civilians have been killed in Ukraine between 1945 and 1995 in mine accidents. One hundred and thirty deminers have been killed during clearance operations.[19]

In the Ministry of Defense’s areas of responsibility, there were sixteen mine accidents in 1997 which left seven people dead (five of whom were children), and thirty people were injured. In 1998, there were four mine accidents leaving five people dead (four children) and three people (one child) injured.[20] In the SPDT’s areas of responsibility, there were twenty-nine people killed and ninety-one people injured in 1997, and twenty-one people killed and seventy-one injured in 1998.[21]

During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1989), an estimated 18% of all casualties were due to landmines. Of the 150,000 Ukrainians who fought in Afghanistan. 3,360 Ukrainians were killed, and every sixth death was as a result of mine explosion.[22]

Landmine Survivor Assistance

The main institution for assistance to mine victims is the Social Rehabilitation Centre in Kiev. It provides artificial upper and lower limb orthopaedic goods, and works in close contact with the Otto Bock company in Germany.

There are laws in Ukraine providing measures on social rehabilitation of disabled people. For instance, more than 14 million people are entitled to a discount on their accommodation, electricity, and gas. Such people are also entitled to use all kind of city transport (except taxis) free of charge, and to pay half-price for a once-a-year trip throughout Ukraine for themselves and their families. Disabled may also be provided with free medical treatment at Ukrainian sanatoriums and resorts, and receive free dental treatment and prosthetic appliances. Some categories of disabled are provided with cars for free.

In addition to various legislative acts and state institutions, there is a ministry directly responsible for the social rehabilitation of the disabled: the Ministry of Labour and Social Rehabilitation. The Ministry owns fourteen plants and factories which produce prosthetic appliances. But in 1998, the state debt to these factories was 13 million hryvnas. Lack of money threatens the factories’ ability to continue production. There are currently 800,000 people needing prosthetics. Due to the serious financial and economic problems of the country, there are budget cuts for social needs. In 1998, only 43% of the budget appropriated for the national program on rehabilitation of disabled was actually spent.


[1] Press Release, Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada Mr. Volodymy D. Khandogiy, 24 February 1999.

[2] Mykhailo Osnach, Representative of Ukraine at the Budapest Conference, 26-28 March, 1998.

[3] Statement by Bulgarian Ambassador Petko Draganov to the Conference on Disarmament, undated but February 1999.

[4] Statement of Amb. Volodymyr Furkalo at the Global Ban on Landmines Treaty Signing Conference, Ottawa, 4 December 1997.

[5] Mykhailo Osnach, Representative of Ukraine at the Budapest Conference, 26-28 March, 1998.

[6] U.S. Department of State, Outgoing Telegram, Unclassified, Subject: landmine export moratorium demarche, 7 December 1993.

[7] Ibid.

[8] United Nations, Country Report: Ukraine, at http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/country/ukraine.htm.

[9] Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Mine Action Database.

[10] Military Parade magazine.

[11] Statement by H.E. Volodymyr Furkalo, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, Head of Ukrainian Delegation, at the Global Ban on Landmines Treaty Signing Conference and Mine Action Forum, Ottawa, 4 December 1997.

[12] General Volodymyr Vorobiov, Head of the Corps of Engineers, 28 April 1998.

[13]United Nations, Country Report: Ukraine, at http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/country/ukraine.htm.

[14] Ukrainian Peacekeepers Veterans Association, Annual Report 1998.

[15] Report of General Volodymyr Vorobiov, Head of the Corps of Engineers, 28 April 1998.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Landmine Monitor interviews with Ministry of Defense officials.

[18] SPDT Bombs Disposal Division report, 19 February 1999 (Dnepropetrovsk).

[19]United Nations, Country Report: Ukraine, at http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/country/ukraine.htm.

[20] Chief of Staff General I.E. Yazovskih, Annual Report about Results of Demining of the Ukrainian Territory for 1998.

[21] SPDT Bombs Disposal Division report, 19 February 1999 (Dnepropetrovsk).

[22] Colonel Valery Ablasov, Deputy Head of State Committee for Veterans Affairs, Soviet Staff and Arms Technics Losses in Afghanistan (1979-1989), 15 December 1998.