Moscow laying landmines in Ukraine: Kiev


Kiev, Ukrain: Kiev on Thursday charged that Russian troops were laying anti-personnel mines in Ukraine and had grabbed a Ukrainian stockpile of landmines used for training.

Ukraine "is strongly concerned about the use of anti-personnel mines by the Russian Armed Forces in several parts of the Ukrainian territory," a Ukrainian delegation said at a meeting on landmines in Geneva.

The delegation accused Russian troops of creating minefields "at the entry points between the continental part of Ukraine and Crimean peninsula," which was annexed by Moscow last month.

Amid an intensifying standoff over the splintered ex-Soviet state, Kiev said mines had been laid both in Crimea, which it insisted "remains an integral part of Ukraine", and in the neighbouring Ukrainian region of Kherson.

"The mine-fields are fenced with barbed wire and marked with warning signs 'Mines'," it said, according to a draft of the statement presented to the meeting on compliance with the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, also known as the Ottawa Treaty.

Ukraine, which had not been scheduled to speak at Thursday's meeting, stressed its eagerness to "destroy anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction".

This could however only be done, it said, once Kiev regained "control of the territory currently occupied by the aggressor," Russia.

The Ukrainian delegation, whose comments came as Moscow stepped up the tensions Thursday with threats of cutting off its supply of natural gas to the country, also accused Russian troops of seizing a stockpile of mines from a Ukrainian

The OZM-4 cast iron fragmenting mines, which do not have self-destruct mechanisms, had been stored by the Ukrainian military for training in mine detection and clearance, the delegation said.

The mines now "appeared to be out of the legal framework of the Ottawa Treaty," it said.

Ukraine is also scheduled to address the meeting on Friday to explain why it has missed its deadline to destroy its stockpiles of anti-personnel mines.