Mine Ban Policy
The Russian Federation has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.
Russia has long expressed its opposition to the Mine Ban Treaty and appears to have toughened that stance in recent years. In November 2020, Russia told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that is it “not advisable for it to adhere” to the treaty and it has “serious doubts as to the reliability [of the treaty] as it does not have the necessary tools to ensure the compliance of those States that have violated it.” Russia said it “shares the goals of the treaty and supports a world free of mines,” but views antipersonnel mines “as an effective way of ensuring the security of Russia’s borders.”
The position stands in stark contrast to a previous statement made by Russia at the UNGA in 2017: “We do not exclude our possible accession to Ottawa [Mine Ban] Convention in the future. In the meantime, Russia continues work to address a number of technical, organizational and financial issues related to implementation of Ottawa Convention.”
Russia participated as an observer in the 1996–1997 process that created the Mine Ban Treaty, but did not adopt or sign the treaty. It attended the treaty’s First Meeting of States Parties in 1999 and the Second Review Conference in 2009 as an observer, but has not participated in any Mine Ban Treaty meetings since 2010.
In the past, Russia has said it cannot accede to the treaty as it sees military utility in antipersonnel mines and a lack of viable alternatives. Russia has also indicated financial challenges in relation to the Mine Ban Treaty’s requirement to destroy stockpiled antipersonnel mines within four years.
Russia has consistently abstained from voting on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. Russia abstained from the most recent vote in December 2020, on Resolution 75/52.
Russia is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines. It routinely submits national annual reports as required by Article 13. Russia is also party to CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war (ERW). Russia is not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Russia has reported that in order to comply with CCW Amended Protocol II, a “National System of Technical Requirements for Landmines including antipersonnel and other than antipersonnel ones was elaborated and adopted; planned disposal of obsolete landmines is underway; new, more effective types of detection and demining tools are developed and commissioned. Marking of mine fields at the national boarder of the Russian Federation is fulfilled in full compliance with Paragraph 1 of the RF Federal Law #158FZ of December 7, 2004, ‘On Ratification of Amended Protocol II…’”
Since 1999, Russian forces have used antipersonnel landmines in Chechnya, but also at times in Dagestan, Tajikistan, and on the border with Georgia. Russia has argued that its mine use has been necessary to stop the flow of weapons, drugs, and terrorists; and maintains that it has been in full compliance with CCW Amended Protocol II on landmines.
In May 2020, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya discovered significant mine contamination in areas of Tripoli vacated by opposition forces, including those from a Russian government-linked military company, the Wagner Group. The GNA claimed that antipersonnel landmines manufactured in the Soviet Union or Russia were “laid by the Wagner mercenaries” in the Ain Zara, Al-Khilla, Salahuddin, Sidra, and Wadi al-Rabi districts of Tripoli.
In August 2021, the BBC published a report on the contents of an electronic tablet believed to have belonged to a fighter from the Wagner Group, which included maps of mined areas in Tripoli in 2020. In mid-2020, clearance teams reportedly cleared more than 400 mines and other explosive devices from more than 200 homes in Tripoli’s southern enclave of Salahideen, which they said had been emplaced by the Russian mercenaries.
In July 2020, the United States (US) military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) criticized the “Wagner Group’s reckless use of landmines and booby traps,” which it said was “harming innocent civilians.”
Russia has produced at least 10 types of antipersonnel landmines since 1992, including blast mines (PMN, PMN-2, PMN-4, and PFM-1S) and fragmentation mines (POMZ-2, OZM-72, MON-50, MON-90, MON-100, and MON-200). Russia has stated on several occasions that its production of blast mines halted in 1997. Russia has been conducting research on new mines, modifications to existing mines, and alternatives to mines since at least 1997.
Russia debuted new “smart” landmine systems during its annual military exercises in 2021, including mines delivered by rockets and scattered from truck-mounted launchers. It introduced the POM-3 or “Medalyon” antipersonnel mine—a self-destructing bounding fragmentation mine equipped with inherent antihandling/anti-disturbance capability—that had been in development since at least 2015. Several types of self-destructing/self-deactivating antivehicle mines were also tested in 2021. The status of Russia’s production plans for the POM-3 mine is not known.
Since 1 December 1994, Russia has had a moratorium on the export of antipersonnel landmines that are not detectable or not equipped with self-destruct devices. The moratorium formally expired in 2002, yet Russian officials stated in June 2009 that it was still being observed.
Antipersonnel landmines of Soviet/Russian origin have been found emplaced in at least 30 mine-affected countries.
In recent years, antipersonnel mines of Russian manufacture—distinct from versions produced in the former Soviet Union—have appeared in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.
Most recently, six types of Russian-made antipersonnel mines and two types of antivehicle mines, which had not been observed before in Libya, were used in and around Tripoli in 2019 and 2020, indicating that the mines were recently transferred into the country. In March 2021, a report by the UN Security Council Panel of Experts on Libya found that private military contractors from Russia had imported the antipersonnel mines to use in their operations.
Stockpiling and destruction
In November 2004, for the first time, Russia released official information on the number of antipersonnel mines in its stockpiles, when then-Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov cited a figure of 26.5 million. He forecast that approximately 23.5 million of these antipersonnel mines would be destroyed between 2005 and 2015. At the Mine Ban Treaty Tenth Meeting of States Parties in 2010, Russia declared that it had destroyed a total of 10 million mines, including antipersonnel mines. In 2010 alone, more than 464,000 antipersonnel landmines that did not meet international requirements were destroyed.
Russian officials have acknowledged that Russian military units in other countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States maintain antipersonnel landmine stockpiles; for example, 18,200 in Tajikistan, and an unknown number in Georgia (Abkhazia).
 Russian Federation, Explanation of Vote on Resolution L.26, 75th Session, UNGA First Committee, New York, 6 November 2020.
 Statement of Vladimir Yermakov, Representative of the Russian Federation, UNGA First Committee, Debate on Conventional Weapons, New York, 20 October 2017. In December 2010, Russia said that it “did not exclude the possibility of joining the treaty in the future,” but that this required an incremental approach. Statement of Russia, Mine Ban Treaty Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 December 2010. Notes by ICBL. In June 2009, a Russian official said that Russia is committed to the objective of a mine-free world, but stressed that any prohibition must take into account national security considerations. According to the official, Russia’s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty is dependent on “solving a number of technical, financial and other tasks” related to implementation. Monitor interview with Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, Moscow, June 2009. These views were reiterated in an official letter in 2010. Letter from Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, 29 November 2010. Russia stated in November 2006 that “a mine-free world remains our common goal. Nonetheless, we have noted on several occasions that our movement towards this goal has to be realistic and gradual, sustaining the necessary level of security and stability.” Statement of Russia, CCW Amended Protocol II Eighth Annual Conference of States Parties, Geneva, 6 November 2006.
 Russia has often stated this in the past. A Russian diplomat has also asserted that Russia fully abides by the requirements of CCW Amended Protocol II. Interview with Georgy Todua, Minister Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Colombia, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.
 Russia submitted a series of declarations with its ratification instrument that will guide its national implementation of CCW Amended Protocol II. For details of the declarations, see, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2005: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2005), pp. 854–855. Russia used Amended Protocol II’s optional nine-year extension to defer (until 3 December 2007) its compliance with the protocol’s technical requirements for self-destruct and self-deactivation mechanisms for remotely-delivered antipersonnel mines and detectability for antipersonnel mines.
 Russia CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form C, 30 September 2009.
 For a summary of past use, see, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2004: Toward a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, October 2004), pp. 1,186–1,187. Russia has denied any use of antipersonnel mines during the conflict in 2008 with Georgia over South Ossetia. Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigations could find no evidence of use of mines. See, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2009: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2009), p. 1,069.
 See, for example, statement by Amb. Anatoly I. Antonov, CCW Group of Governmental Experts, Sixth Session, Geneva, 18 November 2003.
 Photographs shared on social media show mines equipped with tripwires and mines used as triggers to detonate larger improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Video footage shows various explosive charges used to booby-trap homes, including antivehicle mines, paired with various types of fuzes and a mix of electronic timers, circuit boards, and modified cell phones. HRW, “Libya: Landmines Left After Armed Group Withdraws,” 3 June 2020.
 Nader Ibrahim and Ilya Barabanov, “The lost tablet and the secret documents: Clues pointing to a shadowy Russian army,” BBC News, 11 August 2021.
 Sudarsan Raghaven, “The Libyan war’s lethal legacy: booby-trapped teddy bears, toilets, and soda cans,” The Washington Post, 28 May 2021.
 Samy Magdy, “US Africa Command: Russian mercenaries planted land mines in Libya,” Associated Press, 15 July 2020.
 See, for example, Statement of Russia, CCW Amended Protocol II Tenth Annual Conference of States Parties, Geneva, 12 November 2008.
 In 2004, Russia said that it had spent or planned to spend RUB3.33 billion (US$115.62 million) on research, development, and production of new engineer munitions, including alternatives to antipersonnel mines. Statement by Sergei Ivanov, Minister of Defense, parliamentary hearings on ratification of Amended Protocol II, 23 November 2004. Average exchange rate for 2004: RUB1=US$0.03472. Oanda.
 Roman Kretsul and Anna Cherepanova, “Fire and ‘Tick’: Russia tested a new system of minefields,” Izvestia, 6 September 2021.
 In 2015, the POM-3 mine’s design engineers claimed that the seismically-activated POM-3 would be able to distinguish between combatants and civilians as it is activated by a sensor that detects the footfall of an individual, characterizes it against known signatures, and fires its warhead into the air. Directors Igor Smirnov and Mikhail Zhukov of the Scientific Research Institute of Engineering’s Department of Munitions, Mining, and Demining, interviewed on Zvezda TV, 20 November 2015, cited in “Russia Develops Landmine With ‘Electronic Brain’,” Defense World, 20 November 2015. See also, “Perspective Anti-Personnel Mine POM-3 ‘Medallion’,” Military Review, 30 November 2015.
 Landmine delivery systems Zemledeliye and UMZ-K Klesh-G, as well as antivehicle mine PTKM-1R. See, Lee, Rob (RALee85), “UMZ-K Klesh-G and Zemledeliye minelayers at the Mulino training area.” 31 July 2021, 21:53 UTC. Tweet. See also, Roman Kretsul and Anna Cherepanova “Fire and ‘Tick’: Russia tested a new system of minefields,” Izvestia, 6 September 2021.
 Monitor interview with Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, Moscow, June 2009.
 Countries in which Soviet/Russian antipersonnel mines have been found: Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
 Since 2012, the Syrian Army has used landmines of Soviet/Russian origin, including PMN-2 and PMN-4 antipersonnel mines, and TMN-46 and TM-62 antivehicle mines, along its borders with Lebanon and Turkey. HRW, “Syria: Army Planting Banned Landmines: Witnesses Describe Troops Placing Mines Near Turkey, Lebanon Borders,” 13 March 2012.
 Since 2014, antipersonnel mines produced in Russia but never stockpiled in Ukraine have been spotted in visual media reports and reported as being seized by Ukrainian authorities. For example, in a video produced by a pro-rebel media source in July 2014, combatants associated with the Russian-supported Zarya Battalion were shown emplacing a PMN-4 antipersonnel mine, in conjunction with emplacing TM-62M antivehicle mines at an unknown location in eastern Ukraine. This type of mine has never been declared to be stockpiled by Ukraine and was only first publicly displayed by Russia in 1993. See, “Life of Zarya battalion,” YouTube.com, July 2014; and “Anti-personnel mine PMN-4,” Saper, undated.
 Antipersonnel mines: MON-50, MON-90, OZM-72, POM-2, POM-2R, and PMN-2; Antivehicle mines: TM-62M and TM-83. See, Berkowitz, Oded (Oded121351), “#Libya-#GNU photos of ERW (~ 9 tons) from the #Tripoli campaign that were recently removed from the south of the city. Note the North Korean PG-7 shells (F-7 HE) and extensive mint condition mines used by #Russia|n PMC, including MON-50, MON-90, PMN-2 & OZM-72 with older PRB M3.” 5 September 2021, 09:54 UTC. Tweet.
 UN Security Council, “Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Libya established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1973 (2011),” S/2021/229, 8 March 2021, p. 26.
 Statement by Sergei Ivanov, Parliamentary Hearings on Ratification of CCW Amended Protocol II, 23 November 2004. Ivanov said that in 2000, Russia stockpiled 46 million antipersonnel landmines, but had since destroyed or disposed of around 19.5 million of them.
 Statement of Russia, Mine Ban Treaty Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 December 2010. Notes by ICBL.
 Russia CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, 1 March 2011.
 In each of its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports since 2003, Tajikistan has reported that intergovernmental talks are “currently underway” to clarify and complete data collection regarding these Russian mines.