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Ukraine: Six soldiers said to be injured by Russian-backed laser weapons

The following material in blue is from the Kyiv Post, May 28 2018:

At least six Ukrainian servicemen deployed to the Donbas war zone have suffered serious eye damage from unidentified optical radiation devices used by Kremlin-backed militants on several occasions since 2016.

The military believes that the soldiers were likely targeted with blinding laser devices, which Russia brought to Donbas in order to test this new advanced technology in battlefield conditions. If independently confirmed, the usage of such weapons can be qualified as a war crime, according to international law.

Since the war’s outbreak in 2014, there have been at least three such incidents recorded by the State Border Service and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

On July 18, 2016, three Ukrainian border guards deployed to a forward checkpoint between the city of Maryinka just west of Russian-occupied Donetsk suffered severe eye injuries as they surveyed enemy territory in front of them through binoculars and monoculars.

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Iraq: 4000 soldiers said to be injured by lasers

The following is from an online article entitled “Anti-Personnel Lasers” that was last updated in November 1998:

During the Iran/Iraq War [Sept. 1980-August 1988], Iranian soldiers suffered over 4000 documented eye casualties from Iraqi laser systems, enough to indicate Iraq's employment of some laser systems specifically for their casualty- producing effect. The Iranian casualties showed effects caused by different types of lasers, which was indicative of the mix of western and Communist-block systems in the Iraqi inventory.

The injuries, described as retinal burns and hemorrhages, reportedly were caused by a laser device associated with Iraqi tanks. The reported injuries could have been inflicted by a visible or near-infrared laser, most likely a tank-mounted ruby or neodymium/glass laser rangefinder.

Laser eye injuries probably occurred as a result of the use of tank-mounted laser rangefinders or other laser systems. These systems possibly were used in an offensive, antipersonnel mode, with the explicit purpose of blinding troops. Hand-held laser rangefinders and designators associated with armor or artillery could be used in an attempt to dazzle, disorient, or blind personnel in low-flying aircraft (fixed and rotor wing).

Lasers also have been purchased by Iraq presumably for military application. It was reported that Iraq fielded these lasers as antisensor or antipersonnel weapons; however, no confirmation exists to support this report.


The article is from the Federation of American Scientists which is based on information in a U.S. AFMIC ”Special Weekly Wire” dated the 32nd week of 1990 (August 5-11). The AFMIC report does not state the figure of “over 4000” casualties. This figure comes from a GulfLink document produced by the CIA in June 1997, according to John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org.

In correspondence with LaserPointerSafety.com dated May 16 2018, Pike wrote “the document is authentic, though as with many of the GulfLink documents, the provenance is a bit difficult to establish.” The GulfLink “collection of declassified military and intelligence documents concerning Gulf War Illnesses, is a unique treasure-trove of both recent US intelligence products, as well as insights into Iraq's special weapons programs” according to GlobalSecurity.org.

The AFMIC report is also echoed in a December 2000 article from Armada International that contains additional interesting information on “eye-safe” lasers used for rangefinding.