Ongoing Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, including through Russian military personnel arming, training, and fighting alongside Russian-led separatists, has resulted in a line of contact between the Ukrainian government and combined Russian-separatist forces. The line of contact running through the Donetsk and Luhansk regions is marked by extensive landmine and UXO contamination created by both sides of the conflict.
Numerous antipersonnel and antivehicle mines have been identified in Ukraine since 2015. Identified types include: OZM-72 bounding fragmentation mines that can function as antipersonnel mines depending on the type of fuze used, MON (50, 90, 100, and 200) directional antipersonnel mines, TM62 antivehicle mines, PDM-1M anti-handling mines equipped with fuzes capable of being activated by the unintentional act of a person, and POM2 antipersonnel mines. These explosive hazards represent a major threat to combatants and civilians alike. On 20 April 2018, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine reported that explosive hazard contamination in eastern Ukraine is impacting 1.9 million people.
The presence or suspicion of mines and ERW inhibits freedom of movement, posing a serious threat to people crossing the contact line at the five checkpoints where one million crossings occur each month. Access to some villages near the contact line is also restricted as roads are contaminated by mines and ERW, cutting people off from essential services. Civilians living along the contact line are unable to engage in agricultural activities, severely affecting their access to food and livelihoods. Access to basic utilities such as water, electricity, and gas is frequently interrupted, and maintenance and repair of these utilities is impeded or made impossible by the presence of mines and ERW. To heat homes in the winter, people go into the forest, facing significant risk from explosive ordnance as a result. This is said to have resulted in many fatalities and injuries. In addition, explosive ordnance poses a humanitarian risk to internally displaced and returning refugees, especially in areas fought over previously and which are now away from the front line.
The HD R&D Program deployed the Traxx Area Preparation System to the Ukraine in June 2019 where it began an operational field evaluation with The HALO Trust.
Sources: To Walk the Earth in Safety, 2019
Landmine Monitor Report, 2016