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Russian diplomat accuses Kiev of using mines it should've destroyed 5 years ago

December 10, 2015, 19:16 UTC+3

It would not have been as bad if Kiev had not have started using these mines against their own people in combat actions in Ukraine’s south-east, foreign ministry's representative says

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, December 10. /TASS/. Ukraine is using mines in the south-east that it should have destroyed five years ago in accordance with the Mine-Ban Convention also known as the "Ottawa Treaty", Mikhail Ulyanov, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, told TASS on Thursday.

"The Ottawa Treaty brings together many countries, a lot more than a hundred but not all of them," Ulyanov said. "Russia, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, the United States and several other countries have not joined this convention but we treat it with respect and recognize its usefulness. Unlike us, Ukraine joined the agreement in 2005, ratified it and by 2010 should have fully destroyed its storages of anti-personnel mines. However, they did not do this. As of today, they have 5.5 million mines left," he continued.

Ulyanov also noted that Ukraine is destroying its storages at a strange pace. In 2011 they destroyed 2,160 mines, in 2012 — 9,720, and in 2015 — only 574 mines. At such pace the process continue for several centuries, Ulyanov said adding that in 2010 and 2014 the pace was significantly higher. "Instead of destroying 100% of its anti-personnel mines over the last five years in accordance with the assumed international legal obligations, Ukrainians destroyed only 9.2% of mines over the last 10 years and have already missed the deadline," the diplomat noted. "Thus the violation of the Ottawa Treaty is obvious. Theoretically, this is not our problem. This is the problem of Ukraine and other participants of the convention that should deal with it," he added.

"It would not have been as bad if Kiev had not have started using these mines against their own people in combat actions in Ukraine’s south-east. The thing that draws attention here is the lack of reaction to these instances both from non-governmental organizations that are usually quick to react and governments," Ulyanov noted.

NGOs "are possibly afraid to bring upon themselves the discontent of Ukrainian authorities and be ousted from the country," the official supposed. "Of course, this is not an argument but it could at least be understood. And the silence of member countries of the convention is obviously based only on one thing — the fact that political considerations prevail over legal, humanitarian and moral considerations in this case. The so-called political correctness in the Western interpretation may mean not paying attention to this aspect," Ulyanov concluded.

"The session of member countries of the Ottawa Treaty is taking place this week. We’ll see if this issue will be raised there. Probably it won’t be," he concluded.

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