Videos show Russians beating land mines with logs, one of a few odd mine-clearing methods that have shown up in the Ukraine war


  • Newly shared videos show Russian soldiers clearing land mines with sticks, logs, and other tools.

  • Both sides in this war have at times cleared mines in unconventional ways.

  • Ukraine is the most heavily mined country in the world, and it has complicated battlefield movements.

Videos from the war in Ukraine show Russian soldiers clearing land mines, but it’s not exactly a “safety first” approach.

Troops can be seen using unconventional tools, foregoing safer techniques to remove the mines. It highlights how soldiers deal with the ever-present danger that mines pose.

The videos, shared this week by open-source intelligence accounts on Telegram and X, showed soldiers detonating mines. The first video shows a soldier hitting a mine with a wooden log, prompting a moderate explosion. The soldier doesn’t appear to be use any typical mine-clearing equipment or special protective gear and is seen sitting on the ground in close proximity to the explosive.

A second video shows a similar situation: a Russian soldier trying to use a large stick to detonate a land mine. He repeatedly hits the mine and fails to remove it, prompting others to come in and seemingly try other methods and tools. At one point, it looks like some soldiers roll logs near and onto the land mine.

Towards the end of the video, the mine finally explodes after being hit. Similar to the previous example, the soldier doesn’t seem to have special protective gear.

Business Insider was unable to independently verify the details of the videos. Open-source intel accounts identified the filming location as somewhere in Luhansk Oblast, east of occupied Donetsk. It is unclear exactly when the videos were shot.

Though it’s a little odd, the Russians aren’t the only ones who do this sort of thing.

Ukrainian service members have been documented getting rid of land mines in unusual ways. They have been caught on video beating on them with long sticks, using ropes and grappling hooks, setting up snare trip wires, and hitting fiberglass rods. There have even been videos of people rolling tires over mines or throwing bricks at them.

Land mines and other explosives aren’t always easy to find and could be hiding in everything from children’s toys to refrigerators. Soldiers have at times relied on the bodies of dead animals to locate where mines are. And when they find them, mine-clearing equipment isn’t always readily available.

While the war in Ukraine has been heavily defined by modern drone technology, land mines have seen prominent use as well, particularly by Russian forces, and become a major factor in how both sides navigate the battlefield.

For Ukraine, for example, Russia’s vast network of land mines and booby traps were major headaches during Kyiv’s summer 2023 counteroffensive. Troops said that at times it was painstakingly difficult to advance even a few feet, as sappers searched for mines so that troops and their armored vehicles could move forward.

Russia has planted countless explosives, resulting in Ukraine becoming the most heavily mined country in the world and leading to hundreds of military and civilian casualties, Ukraine officials have said. Ukraine, likewise, has planted mines to slow the Russians.

In early 2023, the World Bank estimated that de-mining Ukraine could cost more than $37 billion. In reality though, the mined areas could be so vast that it may never be completely cleared.

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