Russia has caused damage to Ukraine’s environment worth over 37 billion euros since the start of the full-scale invasion. A corresponding statement was made by Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine Yevheniy Fedorenko.

“The world must recognise that Russia is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in modern society. It is this country, with the assistance of Belarus, that pursues nuclear, energy and raw material terror, causes significant damage to the environment not only of Ukraine but also of the whole of Europe,” the official said during the Forum for Security Co-operation of the OSCE participating States.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry data, emissions into the atmosphere as a result of forest fires, burning oil products, and fires at industrial facilities have already exceeded 67 million tonnes for almost eight months of full-scale war.

Suffering defeats on the battlefield, the Russian Federation purposefully hits civilian infrastructure.

“The aggressor state is deliberately destroying the Ukrainian water infrastructure. The latest example is the strikes on the dam of the Karachuniv reservoir on the Inhulets River near Kryvyi Rih. As a result, the water in the river temporarily turned red. Contaminated water enters transboundary rivers, the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azov and can reach neighbouring countries,” Fedorenko said.

He cited other examples that clearly demonstrate the scale of damage caused to Ukraine’s environment:

  • Russia has turned the most fertile black soils in the world into a vast minefield as almost a third of the territory of Ukraine – about 200,000 sq km – needs demining
  • More than 2.4 million ha of forests liberated from the occupiers by the Armed Forces of Ukraine suffered significant damage as they were burned and dug up with trenches. According to forecasts from the Ministry of Environmental Protection, their restoration will take dozens of years
  • 20% of nature conservation territories of Ukraine are affected by the war; in particular, the Ramsar sites and the Emerald Network sites are at risk
  • 2,209 energy, metal, and mineral deposits are under occupation – they are estimated at 12.7 trillion euros
  • Russia does not agree to the creation of a demilitarised zone around the Zaporizhzhia NPP, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The occupiers consistently shell the territory and infrastructure around the plant.

“We call on the international community to help hold the aggressor to account for the sake of peace and security in the world. We thank those OSCE participating States that help us oppose this terror,” the deputy minister emphasised.

Bohdan Marusyak

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