British military officials say it is “highly likely” that Russia is deploying in its invasion of Ukraine deadly anti-personnel landmines similar to the thousands placed during the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan War.
Believed to be PFM-1 and PFM1S scatterable anti-personnel mines, British military intelligence officials said the landmines are being positioned along Russia’s defensive lines in the disputed Donbas region of Ukraine.
“These mines have the potential to inflict widespread casualties among both the military and the local civilian population,” British defense officials tweeted Monday. “Commonly called the ‘Butterfly Mine,’ the PFM-1 series are deeply controversial indiscriminate weapons.”
Analysts said the mines were used to devastating effect following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. U.K. officials said many children were maimed after mistaking the mines for toys.
The Soviet-era mines now being used by Russia in Donetsk and Kramatorsk are most likely highly unreliable and unpredictable, analysts said.
“This poses a threat to both the local population and humanitarian mine-clearing operations,” British intelligence officials said.