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The continuing threat of banned weapons in Ukraine: the need for sustained support for landmine clearance

As the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, it is clear that the conflict has not progressed as initially predicted. Although Kyiv has managed to withstand Moscow’s aggression, the situation in Ukraine bears eerie similarities to Russia’s involvement in Syria, where indiscriminate bombing of civilian infrastructure and use of banned weapons have resulted in terrible consequences to Ukraine’s civilians.

Throughout Ukraine, Russian bombs and missiles have targeted a wide range of civilian structures, including hospitals, schools, grocery stores, theatres, shopping malls, homes, and playgrounds, resulting in a blatant disregard for civilian life and international norms. Furthermore, evidence suggests that Russia is employing banned weapons, including anti-personnel landmines, which have led to hundreds of casualties and a major disruption of Ukrainian agricultural exports.

Cluster munitions, another banned weapon, are reportedly being deployed by both Russia , leading to a even more civilian casualties. These weapons pose a continued threat even after use, as a failed submunition often becomes a de facto landmines that poses a risk to anyone who comes into contact with it.

As Ukraine continues to work towards liberation and reconstruction, support from allies such as the UK will be crucial in addressing the dangerous aftermath of the conflict. This includes funding for landmine clearance and support for those injured by mines and cluster munitions.

The future of Ukraine rests on the successful removal of mines and unexploded ordnance, allowing for safe and efficient rebuilding. The UK and other allies must allocate sustainable funding towards this goal in order to prevent deadly outcomes and facilitate a brighter future for Ukraine.