Atlantic Council: Safe distance: Why Ukraine should embrace the US position and deploy land mines responsibly

2022-05-17 |

By John B. Barranco. Like any other weapon, mines can be misused to harm noncombatants. But unlike various offensive weapons systems that have not been banned, anti-personnel landmines are a defensive weapon when used responsibly. A fenced, marked, and monitored minefield on an international border is only a threat to an invader. It is a passive measure that cannot be used to project power into a neighboring country (unlike jet fighters, tanks, and long-range artillery).

This is why Ukraine should immediately withdraw from the Ottawa Treaty, a move that would allow it to responsibly employ anti-personnel mines as part of an integrated defense on its border with Russia to repel the current invasion and thus help repel future ones. It would still be bound by the restrictions of the 1980 United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which bans the deliberate targeting of civilians with mines and the use of non-self-destructing and non-self-deactivating anti-personnel mines outside of marked and monitored fenced-in areas. Unlike the Ottawa Treaty, the restrictions in the CCW, which the United States and South Korea have both ratified, are militarily reasonable and humane.


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