Ukraine has been accused of using illegal “butterfly mines” as part of its efforts to reclaim the city of Izym, in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, during the sweeping counter offensive of last September.

The antipersonnel mines have not been properly cleared, according to Human Rights Watch, and have since injured civilians still living in the area.

One man told the HRW his leg had been partially blown off after he accidentally stepped on one of the mines.

“Ukrainian forces appear to have extensively scattered landmines around the Izium area, causing civilian casualties and posing an ongoing risk,” said Steve Goose, Arms Division director at Human Rights Watch.

“Russian forces have repeatedly used antipersonnel mines and committed atrocities across the country, but this doesn’t justify Ukrainian use of these prohibited weapons,” he said.

Mr Goose urged Ukraine to launch an investigation into the use of the mines, which are not placed by hand but scattered from the air using artillery or aircraft.

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