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Mobius report 94/2022 – Improvised Booby Traps Targeting EOD Technicians and Deminers, Ukraine

In early December 2022, reports began to surface from bomb disposal units operating in Ukraine regarding the use of new, improvised booby traps employed by Russian military forces specifically targeting bomb disposal personnel and mine clearers, mainly in areas from which Russian forces withdrew in Kherson Oblast, in southern Ukraine, during the month of November. In the past, various booby traps were documented in the Ukrainian arena, ranging from the use of simple booby-trapped ordnance items to dedicated booby trap systems. Recently, booby traps specifically designed to target explosive ordnance and mine clearing professionals, operating according to professional protocols, have begun to appear. These new, improvised booby trap methods include, for example, one designed to be activated by someone while using a prodder, another intended to initiate an ordnance item when an attempt is made to remove the detonator after it has been neutralized, and a double anti-tilt booby trap activated only after a mine is moved again, after it has been extracted from the ground, from a distance. Simultaneous with the existence of simple and standard booby trap systems, it is evident there is a parallel production – either localized, or as an extensive production line – of more creative improvised booby trap systems. These devices, as stated, are specifically targeting bomb disposal and mine clearing forces, while also delaying the return to normality and the reassertion of Ukrainian sovereignty in territories liberated from Russian occupation.

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