Response to Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

ICBL response to 11 December comment from the Russian Federation.

On 11 December, the Ministry of Foreign Affiars of the Russian Federation released online a "Comment by the Information and Press Department on the Landmine Monitor 2015 report." On 16 December, the ICBL responded in a letter (pdf) to Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrow, stating:

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines would like to acknowledge with thanks the 11 December 2015 statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on our recently published Landmine Monitor 2015 report. We appreciate this careful review of our publication.

We acknowledge the comment that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “cannot agree with the statement that the selfdefence forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk peoples’ republics are the only parties responsible for using landmines in southeastern Ukraine.”

In Landmine Monitor 2015, we reported that Ukraine government forces have used mines other than antipersonnel mines in the Donbass. We have not seen any evidence to indicate that the government of Ukraine has used antipersonnel landmines, and it has denied the use of antipersonnel mines on several occasions. We welcome any information showing the use of antipersonnel mines in Ukraine and encourage you to share evidence with us so that we can ensure that our reporting is comprehensive and accurate.

We note the statement does not deny landmine use by the “self-defense forces” and inquire as to whether you agree that these forces have used antipersonnel mines.

We have carefully reviewed the statement’s comment that “the insinuation that Russia allegedly supplies PMN-4 landmines to southeastern Ukraine is absolutely unacceptable.” Our report referred to video evidence from July 2014 that showed the opposition Zarya Battalion laying a PMN-4 antipersonnel mine. The report’s table of mines used in Ukraine listed the PMN-4 as being of Russian origin. For the Landmine Monitor, this means the PMN-4 antipersonnel mine was manufactured in Russia, but nowhere in the update do we state that Russia was responsible for transferring PMN-4 mines for use in Ukraine.

We welcome the statement’s positive acknowledgment of our campaign’s role in the effort to reduce the global threat from landmines. Thank you for your interest in our report. We look forward to continued communication with respect to our reporting on states’ adherence to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.