For the past year and a half, Ukraine has been under relentless assault and total war by the Russian Federation. In Europe’s largest conventional invasion since World War Two, tens of thousands of troops have been killed on both sides, with untold civilian casualties in Ukraine that won’t be verified until Russian expulsion from the occupied territories.

During the ongoing Summer Ukrainian counteroffensive, one of the biggest obstacles the Ukrainian Armed Forces (ZSU) have faced is landmines. For a year and a half, Russian Forces have had the time to riddle the battlefield with deadly landmines that have maimed not only ZSU but also numerous civilians.

The sheer number of landmines will be a problem for the Ukrainian army and its vast civilian population for years to come.

Russia’s Deadly History of Landmines

In the aftermath of the Soviet-Afghan War, the Red Army left hundreds of thousands of landmines to cover their retreat. The landmines were purposely dispersed without regard to human life to maximize casualties as much as possible.

According to the Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan (MACCA), over 588 civilians have been killed by mines left behind by the Soviet Union in the past decade. A further 887 have been maimed and wounded by the deadly devices. Overall, 30,000 Afghans have been killed and injured by Soviet-made mines since the Russian withdrawal in 1989.

Chechnya has also been plagued by hundreds of thousands of mines, placed indiscriminately by Russian Forces during the two Chechen Wars. In 2003, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines reported 5,695 people were killed and wounded by Russian mines in 2002. UNICEF has documented over 500,000 landmines scattered across the nation since the First Chechen War.