What are butterfly mines? Are they being used in Ukraine and why are PFM-1 mines also known as Green Parrots?

The Ministry of Defence has claimed that Russia has highly likely attempted employment of PFM-1 and PFM-1S weapons, also known as a ‘butterfly mine’ or ‘green parrot’ mine.

What are butterfly mines?

Butterfly mines are also known as PFM-1 and PFM-1S mines and are scatterable anti-personnel mines.

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The mines can be deployed from mortars, helicopters and aeroplanes in large numbers; they glide to the ground without exploding and will explode later upon contact.

A dummy butterfly mine is seen as a group of people, many refugees, attend a lesson on recognising munitions and explosives. Anti-infantry high-explosive mines are now being used in Ukraine. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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Ukraine conflict: Likely Russia using scatterable anti-personnel mines in Donbas...

The shape and design of the mine allows the mine to glide down slowly, allowing the mine to rest of the ground when it lands. The mines are deliberately light and can be carried by winds, hence the butterfly connotations. However their weight also means they can be moved by water and even snow melting.

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The mines were used during the Soviet era with claims that Russian forces are now using them to try and shore up their position.

What has the MoD said about FM-1 and PFM-1S mines?

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has claimed that Russian forces have likely attempted employment of such mines.

The MoD has also stated that the Soviet-era stock being used by Russia will have degraded over time and are now highly unreliable and unpredictable.

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An update on social media by the MoD stated “Russia is highly likely deploying anti-personnel mines to protect and deter freedom of movement along its defensive lines in the Donbas. These mines have the potential to inflict widespread casualties amongst both the military and the local civilian population.”

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Why are butterfly mines also know as Green Parrots?

The mines are also known as green parrots, and this is due to their shape and colour.

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The shape and bright colour of the mine has resulted in them being one of the most controversial weapons.

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Usually green, the colour and the way which the mine lands often leaves them attractive to children.

Some have claimed that they were deliberately designed to look like a toy – something which has been denied since their inception by the Soviets.

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PFM-1 mines have reportedly maimed high numbers of children in conflicts, with a number of children injured during the Soviet-Afghan conflict for mistaking the mines for toys .