The long-suffering and war-weary residents of Donetsk have had to learn about a new instrument in Kiev's arsenal of torture devices in the last month. Unlike the missiles and bombs that wreck buildings and lives in an instant - but are then gone - these new devices float silently down from the sky and hide away in the grass and litter, lying in wait for the innocent passer-by, curious child or careless youth. As with almost everything else the Kiev regime does, and which its sponsors in Western capitals condone or collaborate on, the Ukrainian army's Petal mine-filled missiles are not being used as a weapon against military targets - for which they were designed - but as a vindictive and malicious means of terrorising and paralysing the citizens of Donetsk. Even those who refuse to be cowed - and who know that this hell will not last much longer - must still be restrained and wary of Kiev's little rippers. The highly regarded independent journalist Eva Bartlett has shown just how this feels for people in Donetsk and other towns subjected to this criminal attack, as also in this video she took on July 30th after petal mines were dropped amongst vegetable gardens and allotments. Kiev will tell you that the Lepestok PFM-1 mines are just something they inherited from the "Soviet occupation" of Ukraine, which they just haven't managed to dispose of yet - as dictated by the Convention on Anti-Personnel mines. Belarus, which also inherited its share, disposed of the last in 2017, while Ukraine still had roughly four million in February. Even with around 300 in a missile, that's enough to paralyse the targeted population many times over. The Soviet petal or "green parrot" mines gained notoriety during the Soviet "occupation" of Afghanistan in the '80s, and were blamed for many injuries to children - including suggestions from Russia's Cold War enemies that they were intentionally made to look like toys. The NYT was remarkably strident, even by today's standards: "the ghastly deliberate crippling of children by Soviet invaders in Afghanistan...sowing insurgent areas with bombs disguised as toys" Here are another couple of those toys waiting to be picked up:
The use of these anti-personnel or "area-denial" mines by the Soviet army led to the Ottawa treaty and Convention banning their use, but concealed the fact that the Soviet butterfly mines were modeled on those used by the US in Vietnam twenty years earlier. The "Dragontooth" mines had the same basic design and explosive mechanism, using a liquid explosive mixture in a flexible plastic envelope, detonated by light pressure. They contained enough explosive to seriously injure and sometimes kill a person treading on one, but insufficient to prevent vehicles passing. In areas where access is possible, DNR demining teams are using radio-controlled armoured heavy vehicles to run over an area. Elsewhere the mines must be found with metal detectors at close range if they are concealed by vegetation or other objects. Although de-miners are disposing of around 300 a day, many thousands have been dropped, scattered all around Donetsk, Gorlovka and other towns close to the contact line. Below is part of a warning notice distributed by Donetsk authorities, as well as a photo of an exploded mine taken from a bus in Donetsk:
Shots in the Channel 1 video below showing numbers of mines being carefully picked up on a shovel may give the wrong impression; although they need around 5 kgs of pressure to detonate, handling them in any way at close range is dangerous. The mines are however designed to withstand their deployment in the missile cassette and fall onto the ground. The illustration below of a full cassette is from Belarus in 2017, when the last of its store of ex-Soviet PFM mines was destroyed. This followed the international campaign to ban these barbaric devices - led by members of the same establishment which has armed and trained the men now using them against civilians.
Whether MI6 or other Western agencies who were involved in training the nationalist and neo-Nazi groups on the front in Donbas now have any control over them, or say in who and where they target is "unclear", and may not be the case. It's hard to see what strategic or military advantage for NATO could be secured by terrorising and restricting the local civilian population, particularly when the commission of these gross crimes against humanity may well come back to bite you. Rather it appears that they are simply turning a blind eye, while keeping the media quiet by some means or another. That appears to be working, with zero coverage of the crimes in Western media to date, but the opposite is true for Russian and other non-Western media, along with the better informed audiences of those media. In addition there is no-one living in the two independent republics or in the Russia-supporting population of Ukraine who doesn't know or isn't horrified about the AFU's mine-filled missiles. This now includes the population of Belgorod, where some Ukrainian-fired missiles have dropped showers of petal mines on part of the city. Already dozens of people have been seriously injured after treading on the mines in Donetsk and Gorlovka, with many needing to have a foot or lower leg amputated. The patience of local people is coming to an end, as the public protest illustrated below demonstrates. Linked to this protest is an online campaign, where there are more details on the disabled victims of the explosives.
However, the appearance of a video showing a 15 year-old boy who had just had his foot ripped apart by one of these dreadful devices would have brought home what it means to anyone who saw it. Russia's Channel 1 followed up on his story, with doctors able to save his foot, if not its proper function. Also interviewed is Yuri Evgenevich, pictured above with his lower leg missing. This short report adds some perspective to the shocking video to follow.
The calm and careful behaviour of the ambulance crew and nurse shown here is a credit to the locals, for whom such blood and suffering has become a daily trial. We should not complain at merely having to look at the gruesome sight, but rather be a witness to its reality and not forget who is to blame for these crimes:
DM August 20th 2022