Following Russia’s temporary retreat to replenish supplies and arrange their battle plan to attack the Donbas region, Ukrainian officials have discovered that the Russian forces had booby-trapped dead bodies with explosives. This was done in order to kill unsuspecting Ukrainians who would move the dead bodies to get them proper funerals. These booby traps were also found hidden in houses, washing machines, and car trunks aside from the dead bodies.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement uploaded last April 4, considered the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, over 30,000 square miles (80,000 square kilometers) of Ukrainian soil were dotted with mines. A large majority of these mines were reported to be POM-3 Medallions.

These POM-3s are equipped with seismic sensors that enable them to detect an approaching person. Upon detection, it ejects an explosive charge into the air, killing or injuring anybody within a 16-meter radius of the blast.

POM-3 antipersonnel mines which reportedly failed to deploy, found in the Kharkiv region (Human Rights Watch). Source:
POM-3 antipersonnel mines, which reportedly failed to deploy found in the Kharkiv region (Human Rights Watch).

“The Russian Federation is in war not only with the Ukrainian Armed Forces but also fights against the civilian population of Ukraine, grossly violating the Law of war. While retreating, Russia’s military personnel is massively setting up booby-traps, banned by the international law, even on food facilities, private housing, and human corpses,” the statement read.

Furthermore, the Ukrainians claimed that the Russians were also booby-trapping children’s toys and shiny objects to attract children to pick them up. There is no evidence of this claim, however.  However, in the Afghan War, the Russians sprinkled thousands of PMF-1 mines, made of green or tan plastic that were palm-sized and maimed thousands of children in the country because their shape and size attracted the notice of children who mistook them for toys. These mines were sown on trails and paths commonly used by civilians.

These booby-trapped dead bodies and other booby-trapped objects were found throughout the warzones in Ukraine. However, they were mostly found in Kyiv Oblast, Kharkiv, and Mariupol.

It should be noted that there is an international policy that bans the use of anti-personnel mines. This is the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, otherwise known as the Ottawa Convention or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.

It stipulates that countries should never use, under any circumstances, anti-personnel mines and never develop, produce, acquire and stockpile the explosives. Each state is also required to destroy all anti-personnel mines in accordance with the convention.