Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a nightly speech to the nation on Monday, said Russian troops withdrawing from parts of northern Ukraine had purposely left thousands of mines in their wake, in what he considered a “war crime.”
In those areas, “tens if not hundreds of thousands” of unexploded ordnance had been left behind, he said, adding that teams are working to clear these “dangerous items.”
The “invaders left mines everywhere,” including in homes, on streets and in fields, he said.
“They deliberately did everything to ensure that the return to these areas after de-occupation was as dangerous as possible. Due to the actions of the Russian army, our territory today is one of the most contaminated by mines in the world,” Zelensky added.
Zelensky labelled these actions “war crimes” intended to “kill or maim as many of our people as possible,” adding that troops would not have done so without explicit orders from Russia’s leadership.