Belarus destroys last anti-personnel mines under Ottawa Treaty

Belarus destroys last anti-personnel mines under Ottawa Treaty

Belarus has fulfilled its obligations under the Ottawa Treaty. One of the points of the agreement is to destroy anti-personnel mines. On April 5, the last samples of PFM-1 were destroyed in the Gomel region.

These mines were used extensively in the second half of the 20th century: by Americans in Vietnam and by the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Cassettes with mines were dropped from aircraft or delivered by rockets. Children often took mines for toys because of their plastic coating. The victims of these weapons often remained disabled.

Andrei Kurakov, head of the engineering troops of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus:
This type of ammunition's shelf life is 10 years and it expired long ago. Therefore, they did not meet safety requirements .

Andrea Wiktorin, head of the European Union delegation to the Republic of Belarus:
The EU is interested in the destruction and prohibition of anti-personnel mines. Therefore, it is a very important project for us. We support the fact that Belarus acceded to the Ottawa Treaty.

These mines were never used in Belarus but nearly 3.5 million of such munitions had remained at various bases since Soviet times. The EU rendered 4-million euro assistance for mine disposal.