+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
Ukraine, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: Ukraine completed the destruction of nearly 405,000 PMN-type mines between July 2002 and May 2003. In 2002, Ukrainian deminers cleared 17,000 mines and UXO, most of them left from World War II.

Mine Ban Policy

Ukraine signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 24 February 1999, but has not yet ratified it. The key stumbling block continues to be working out a destruction program for its significant stockpile of PFM antipersonnel mines within the four years required by the treaty.

In August 2002, the Committee on Defense and National Security of the Ukrainian Parliament and the State Commission on the Defense Industrial Complex (SCDIC) were given additional responsibilities for implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. SCDIC is responsible for developing and coordinating national policy on military-technical cooperation with foreign countries and organizations, and for coordination and control of national activities on the destruction of arms, including landmines. SCDIC proposed establishing a Mine Action Coordination Center in Ukraine modeled on the Croatian Mine Action Center.[1] Ministries were requested by the government to state their position on the creation of such a center on 16 August 2002.[2] There was disagreement among ministries whether a new center was necessary.

In January 2003, in accordance with a decision by the President of Ukraine, SCDIC was disbanded and a Euro-Atlantic Integration Center was created. This new body will have coordination responsibility for mine action, including stockpile destruction.[3] The government did not dismiss the existing interagency working group on mine action; it continues to coordinate with the European Commission (EC), NATO, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and donors.[4]

Ukraine attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 and participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. Government representatives also attended regional landmine conferences in Yerevan in October 2002, in Dubrovnik in October 2002, in Moscow in November 2002, and in Kiev in February 2003. On 22 November 2002, Ukraine voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, supporting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Ukraine is a State Party to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Ukraine attended the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 2002 and submitted a national annual report as required by Article 13 of Amended Protocol II.

Production, Transfer, Use

During the Soviet-era, Ukraine produced components for antipersonnel mines. The government has repeatedly stated that Ukraine has not been involved in production since its independence.[5] Ukraine has a moratorium on export of antipersonnel mines in place through 2003.[6] In June 2003, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said that because the government intends to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty in the near future, it is not necessary to extend the moratorium.[7]

The Ministry of Defense states that antipersonnel mines have not been used on Ukrainian territory since World War II. Ukrainian police continue to record individual cases of criminal use of landmines. In 2002, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reported 59 incidents of criminal use of mines and explosive devices.[8]

Stockpile Destruction

Ukraine inherited a stockpile of 6.35 million antipersonnel mines, including 404,903 PMN-type mines and 5,947,596 PFM-type mines, from the Soviet Union. In March 2001, Canada and Ukraine signed a Framework Arrangement for assistance in antipersonnel mine destruction and established a coordination committee on stockpile destruction in Ukraine.[9]

Destruction of PMN Mines

Preparations for the destruction of 404,903 PMN-1 and PMN-2 mines took place from February to June 2002, with refurbishment of buildings and installation of equipment at the Donetsk State Chemical Plant in southeast Ukraine. Preparations were financed by the NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund. Mines were collected at the plant between May and July 2002 from nineteen separate storage sites.[10]

On 10 July 2002, NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson visited the factory in Donetsk and formally opened the destruction process lines. He received a toy constructed from the recycled plastic components of PMN mines from the Chairman of Donetsk Regional State Administration, Viktor Yanukhovich. (Yanukhovich was appointed Prime Minister of Ukraine in November 2002). Factory management has donated other toys to orphanages and kindergartens in the area.[11]

Lena Kazakova, a 14-year veteran of the plant, told a reporter that she used to ask herself what she could tell her children about her job at the plant, which formerly packed explosives into artillery shells and missiles for the Soviet military. She said, “I used to just make something up. But now I can tell my girls something positive – ‘We’re saving people's lives’ -- and that makes me happy.”[12]

The destruction lines became fully operational in September 2002. The process for dismantling and destruction of the mines took about ten minutes per mine. The capacity of the destruction lines was approximately 1,100- 2,000 mines per day.[13]

On 27 May 2003, the last of the PMN mines were destroyed in a ceremony in Donetsk. The destruction project was completed more than three months ahead of time. The project was implemented by Ukraine, with NATO’s Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) as the Executing Agency. Canada served as the lead donor nation. Hungary, Poland, and the Netherlands also provided funding. The NATO Trust Fund collected $800,000 for this project.[14]

Destruction of PFM-1 Mines

The requirement to destroy over 5 million PFM-type antipersonnel mines is the key obstacle preventing Ukraine from ratifying the Mine Ban Treaty.

The PFM mine deteriorates in storage and there is a possibility of toxic releases when the mine is destroyed. This problem has necessitated careful study and planning for the elimination of Ukraine’s stockpile. A number of meetings were held on this subject in 2002 and the issue was discussed in the February and May 2003 meetings of the intersessional Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction. However, few concrete steps have been taken. Stakeholders continue to coordinate their efforts to destroy PFM mines not only in Ukraine, but also in Belarus and Russia.[15] Russia is destroying PFM mines as part of a routine ammunition stockpile management program. Bulgaria and Turkmenistan destroyed PFM mines during their stockpile destruction program to comply with the Mine Ban Treaty.

On 24 September 2002, a meeting of Ukraine’s Coordinating Committee on Stockpile Destruction was held in Kiev, with high-level participation from UNDP, the EC and Canada. The Committee heard a report from technical experts from the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and the EC who concluded, among other things, that “the destruction of the stockpile probably could be accomplished far less expensively than previously estimated.”[16]

The issue was again discussed at an 11-12 February 2003 conference in Kiev hosted by UNDP and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which addressed Ukraine’s participation in the Mine Ban Treaty. At the meeting, a Canadian expert estimated that destruction of the PFM mines would cost US$4 million.[17]

In April 2003, the Interagency Working Group for Antipersonnel Mines Destruction began appraising the technical condition of the stockpiles of PFM mines with the aim of determining safe destruction procedures. According to a media article, the EC has allocated €400,000 to support the study, which will be carried out at a facility under the National Science Academy's Ye. O. Paton Arc Welding Institute.[18]

Mine Action in Ukraine

Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) from World War II still affect Ukraine. From independence in 1992 to the end of 2002, Ukrainian demining teams collected more than 386,443 mines and UXO, and cleared approximately 270,000 hectares of land.[19]

In 2002, 1,375 emergencies, including 1,270 operations involving demining or explosive ordnance disposal, were reported. This is an increase of 4.3 percent over 2001. A total of 17,000 mines and UXO were cleared, of which 15,226 mines and UXO were collected by demining teams of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES). One hundred and two demining teams from the Ministry of Defense responded to 767 of the emergency incidents and checked 6,866 hectares of territory in 2002.[20]

Demining groups from the Ministry of Emergency Situations and Ministry of Defense continued in 2002 to implement the state mine clearance program in Crimea. Government financing of approximately $400,000 was allocated for coastal mine clearance on the Kerch peninsula.[21]

For clearance purposes, Ukraine is divided into 497 areas of responsibility; of these, the Ministry of Defense is responsible for demining in 442 areas and the Ministry of Emergency Situations is responsible for demining in 55 areas. In some cases, such as for improvised explosive devices, special police teams are employed.

There are no systematic mine risk education 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 UXO.[22]

International Mine Action Programs

Ukrainian deminers continue to participate in UN peacekeeping operations abroad. In 2002, a Ukrainian-Polish Joint Peacekeeping Battalion conducted demining operations in Kosovo. [23] In October 2002, Ukraine sent a new peacekeeping unit with a demining platoon to Kosovo for service with the Belgian–Luxembourg Joint Brigade.[24]

The Ukrainian Army’s Third Engineer Battalion has conducted demining operations, as well as house and road construction, and medical assistance, in South Lebanon since January 2001, as part of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). In April 2003, Ukraine’s President Leonid Kuchma visited the battalion in Lebanon.

Landmine/UXO Casualties and Survivor Assistance

In 2002, there were 20 new mine and UXO casualties in Ukraine, of which seven people were killed and thirteen injured.[25] In 2001, fourteen people were killed and four injured in landmine and UXO incidents.[26]

In accordance with the national law for veterans and persons with disabilities, Ukraine provided financial support for medical rehabilitation in sanatoriums for 35,540 war-disabled, including 3,056 landmine survivors, in 2002.[27]

In 2002, President Kuchma signed a series of new State decrees to improve social protection and medical support for veterans, persons with disabilities, and victims of war, including mine survivors.[28] On 12 February 2003, Ukraine commemorated the fourteenth anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. The Ukrainian and Russian leaders of the “Combat Brotherhood without borders” Union met with President Kuchma and discussed problems of social and medical rehabilitation of veterans and civilians who have fallen victim to landmines in modern conflicts.[29]

[1] SCDIC letter to Government of Ukraine (No. 21-8/573), 12 August 2002.
[2] Doruchennya Premier Ministra Ukraini, Solution No. 3832/23, 16 August 2002.
[3] Press service of President of Ukraine, “President of Ukraine signed order for creation of new center for Euro-Atlantic integration,” 12 January 2003, at http://www.president.gov.ua.
[4] Statement by the Head of the Interagency Working Group on Mine Action to the national conference, “Ottawa Convention: Ukraine’s Participation,” Kiev, 11 February 2003.
[5] Report of the Interagency Working Group on Mine Action to “Ottawa Convention: Ukraine’s Participation” conference, Kiev, 11 February 2003.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Statement by Vladimir Dzyub, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the meeting of mine action experts, organized by ICBL-Ukraine, UNDP, Atlantic Council of Ukraine, Kiev, 3 June 2003.
[8] Ministry of Emergency Situations, “Annual Report 2002,” at http://www.mns.gov.ua.
[9] For previous discussion on stockpiles, their locations, and developments in the joint destruction project, which has moved more slowly than anticipated, see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 841-842, and Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 786-787.
[10] NATO Update, “Landmine Project closing ceremony in Ukraine,” 27 May 2003.
[11] “Ukraine factory turns landmines into toys: 'We're saving people's lives',” Associated Press (Ukraine), 14 December 2002. Toys made from the mine components include scoop-billed birds the size of a shoebox and mini shovel-and-pail sets.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Statement by Volodmyr Dziub, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 6 February 2003; NATO Update, “Landmine Project closing ceremony in Ukraine,” 27 May 2003; “NATO support for destruction of PMN mines in Ukraine,” Defense Express (news agency), 25 December 2002.
[14] NATO Update, “Landmine Project closing ceremony in Ukraine,” 27 May 2003; Presentation by Canada, “Stockpile Destruction: A Pillar of Mine Action,” to the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 6 February 2003.
[15] The State Commission on the Defense-Industrial Complex was identified in October 2001 as the single governmental institution to coordinate the initiative on PFM-type landmines stockpile destruction in Ukraine. The European Commission, UNDP, Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining, and Canada all participate in the PFM destruction program planning process.
[16] Statement by Sayed Aqa, Mine Action Team Leader, UNDP, to Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 5 February 2003.
[17] “Canadian official urges countries to help Ukraine destroy millions of land mines,” Associated Press (Kiev), 10 February 2003.
[18] “EU will support Ukrainian landmine destruction program,” Ukrainian National Information Agency (UNIAN), Kiev, 11 February 2003.
[19] Ministry of Defense press release, “Ukrainian MoD work on demining in 300 administrative districts,” 28 March 2003, available at www.mil.gov.ua
[20] Ministry of Emergency Situations, “Annual Report 2002.”
[21] Ibid.
[22] ICBL-Ukraine report to the “Ottawa Convention: Ukraine’s Participation” conference, Kiev, 11 February 2003.
[23] Ministry of Defense press release, “Engineer Forces of Ukraine, activity and perspectives,” 1 November 2002.
[24] Ministry of Defense press release, “Ukrainian Demining Platoon will go to KFOR mission in Kosovo,” 30 October 2002.
[25] Ministry of Emergency Service, “Annual Report 2002,” Annex 8.
[26] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 586.
[27] Ukrainian Department for Veteran Affairs, “Annual Report 2002.”
[28] Ibid.
[29] Ukrainian Union of Afghan War Veterans press release, “The Day of withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan,” 16 February 2003.