Russia: Use of ‘Butterfly Mines’

Recently, UK Ministry of Defence cautioned about the possible use of PFM-1 series ‘Butterfly Mines’ by Russian military in ongoing war in Ukraine. Russia is expected to deploy anti-personnel mines to discourage freedom of movement across its defensive lines in Donbas region. Butterfly mines are capable of causing widespread casualties among military as well as local civilian population.


  • Russia has attempted to employ PFM-1 and PFM-1S anti-personnel mines in the Donetsk and Kramatorsk region.
  • Earlier, PFM-1s were used in Soviet-Afghan War, in which they injured children who mistook the mines for toys.

About Butterfly Mines:

  • The PFM-1 and PFM-1S anti-personnel landmines are commonly called as ‘Butterfly mines’ or ‘Green Parrots’. They are called so because of their shape and colour.
  • The PFM-1S mine work under self-destruction mechanism, that gets activated within 1-40 hours.
  • Butterfly mine attracts children because it is similar to coloured toy.
  • They are sensitive to touch and just picking it up can turn them on.
  • They are difficult to detect as they are made of plastic and can evade metal detectors.
  • They were green in colour. Hence, they are also called as “Green Parrots”.

Butterfly mines can be deployed in the field, via several means. They can be dropped through ballistic dispersion by means of artillery and mortar shell or from helicopters. They glide across the ground without explosion, but explode as soon as they come in contact. International convention on landlines put ban on using such mines. However, Russia and Ukraine are not signatories to the convention. As a result, they are accusing each other of having used butterfly mines.



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