After Stephen Zabielski’s death, US alters landmine policy
- The US has come up with a new policy on anti-personnel landmines
- Anti-personnel landmines are mines intended to harm people, not tanks
- The Ottawa convention lays our a regulatory framework for anti-personnel mines
Stephen Zabielski, the American who died fighting the Russians in Ukraine when he tripped on a landmine, has made the United States reconsider its policy on landmines. The White House announced a policy to limit the use of anti-personnel landmines on Tuesday. The new policy will be pursuant to the Ottawa Convention, the international treaty prohibiting the use, stockpiling and production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. It will apply to areas outside the Korean Peninsula.
Also Read | Who was Stephen Zabielski?
In the statement announcing the limit on anti-personnel landmines, the White House said, “The world has once again witnessed the devastating impact that anti-personnel landmines can have in the context of Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war in Ukraine, where Russian forces’ use of these and other munitions have caused extensive harm to civilians and civilian objects.”
What are anti-personnel landmines?
Anti-personnel landmines are explosive devices buried into the earth to kill people. They are classified differently from anti-tank landmines, which as the name suggests, are meant to attack tanks usually in war zones. Anti-personnel landmines are often designed to injure and not kill.
Regulations around anti-personnel landmines
The Ottawa convention, which calls for a ban on landmines, is an international treaty with several signatories. While the US’ new policy on anti-personnel landmines is stated to be in line with the Ottawa convention, the US is not a signatory to the convention.
The Stephen Zabielski story
Stephen Zabielski, a 52-year-old US Army veteran, had gone to Ukraine to fight the Russians. The US State Department recently confirmed that Zabielski had died after he tripped over a landmine. Zabielski is the second American to have died in the war in Ukraine. The first American to die in the Russia-Ukraine conflict was 22-year-old Joseph Cancel Jr., a former marine.
What the US said on use of landmines
The White House statement on anti-personnel landmines issued Tuesday says: “President (Joe) Biden is committed to continuing the United States’ role as the world’s leader in mitigating the harmful consequences of anti-personnel landmines worldwide. Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $4.2 billion in more than 100 countries to conventional weapons destruction programmes.”