Monitoring conducted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and partner organizations indicates a significant negative impact of war on the environment, which can be felt by many future generations.
The Government of Ukraine continues to record numerous crimes of the Russian occupiers against the environment and will seek compensation for the damage caused in international courts, Mindovkillya reports.
The article noted that work is already underway on the implementation of the plan for post-war reconstruction and development of Ukraine, the environmental component of which was presented on July 4 by the head of Mindovkol Ruslan Strelet at a conference on the restoration of Ukraine in Lugano.
The strategic goal of post – war reconstruction is a clean and safe environment, further movement of the European “Green course” and economic recovery based on the principles of sustainable development. Therefore, Ukraine needs to implement 9 urgent reforms: in the field of waste management, state environmental control, regulation of industrial pollution, comprehensive environmental monitoring, management of protected areas, etc.
Threats to nuclear and radiation safety
The situation at the Zaporizhia NPP occupied by Russian troops continues to pose a threat to the whole of Europe.
“The Russian occupation forces are using repressions against Ukrainian employees of the captured nuclear power plant. On July 3, it became known that Andrey Goncharuk, a diver of the Zaporizhia NPP hydraulic shop, died as a result of Russian torture. The invaders turned the existing nuclear power plant into their own military base,” the article says.
According to Acting Chief state inspector for nuclear and radiation safety of Ukraine Oleg Korikov, a situation with a shortage of spare parts may arise at Zaporizhia NPP. Currently, Ukraine cannot deliver new valves and consumables that are used during the operation of the station to the station.
On July 1, Energoatom independently restored the lost connection between ZAES and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Earlier, the IAEA lost remote communication with its surveillance system due to the shutdown of all Ukrainian mobile operators by the invaders in Energodar. Currently, all mandatory monitoring data is being transmitted, and the IAEA has confirmed its receipt.
Attacks on infrastructure and industrial facilities
- Russian shelling destroyed the warehouse of an agricultural enterprise with 40 tons of grain in Zelenodolsk Dnipropetrovsk region;
- a woodworking enterprise in the Osnovyansky District of Kharkiv was hit, severely damaging one of the industrial buildings.
- 12 missile strikes were carried out on port infrastructure facilities and private enterprises, in particular, for the production of perfume and lime in Nikolaev;
- Chasov Yar in the Donetsk region was shelled, which caused a refractory plant to catch fire. Firefighters managed to quickly extinguish the fire.
On July 2, after the invaders struck on the outskirts of the Bakhmut community of the Donetsk region, a fire broke out at one of the largest electrical substations in Ukraine “Donbasskaya 750”.
- as a result of the shelling of Russian grads, a fire broke out at Europe’s largest Avdiivka coke plant in the Donetsk region
- Russian troops attacked the territory of the Uglegorsk thermal power plant in the Donetsk region, as a result of which fuel oil tanks caught fire. A large-scale fire lasted more than a day;
- an artillery strike destroyed a gas station in Orekhov, Zaporizhia region.
- massive shelling of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region caused a fire in a market with an area of 1200 square meters. m;
- as a result of a Russian missile strike, a cheese factory in Bashtanka, Mykolaiv region, was significantly damaged.
On July 6, as a result of Russian shelling, a fire broke out at a gas station in Chuguev, Kharkiv region.
During the fighting in the area of Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, significant damage was caused to the Severodonetsk CHPP, the Donsoda plant and the Lisichansk oil refinery. The Azot plant, one of Europe’s largest producers of ammonia and mineral fertilizers, was destroyed by 70%.
“Large-scale fires at infrastructure and industrial facilities lead to poisoning of the air with particularly dangerous substances. Pollutants can be carried by winds over long distances,” Mindovkill explained.
SEI specialists calculated UAH 508 million of environmental damage caused by Russian attacks on an oil depot in the village of Kalinovka, Fastovsky district, Kiev region, in March. Due to the shelling, the fire at the tank farm lasted 5 days.
The SEI also calculated UAH 221 million of environmental damage as a result of the missile attack on the Darnytskyi car repair plant in Kyiv. The total area of blockage as a result of destruction is 4 thousand square meters. m.
According to the Ministry of energy, 90% of wind farms in Ukraine have been destroyed or occupied. In addition, 30% of solar power plants and 30.1% of cogeneration plants were destroyed or seized.
Pollution that is directly caused by military operations
According to the state emergency service, from February 24 to July 6, 2022, 154,045 explosive objects, including 2,024 aerial bombs, were neutralized on the territory of Ukraine. An area of 63,644 hectares was surveyed.
Destroyed military equipment and ammunition, as well as exploding missiles and aerial bombs pollute the soil and groundwater with chemicals, in particular heavy metals.
Harm to protected nature reserves and ecosystems
NASA remote sensing data as of July 3 showed an abnormally high number of fires along the front line in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions. Russian troops launched large-scale artillery strikes. Ammunition explosions and summer heat have become catalysts for significant fires in fields and forests.
So, on July 2, as a result of Russian shelling in the forest tract of the Galician community of the Mykolaiv region, forest stands on an area of 1 ha caught fire, which were extinguished by firefighters.
At least 20 species of endemic rare plants in Ukraine are threatened with destruction due to the war.
Military operations lead to a powerful effect of several factors that adversely affect vegetation, fungi and lichens:
- destructive effects of explosions, the passage of military equipment and the construction of fortifications;
- fires formed as a result of the action of ammunition, which are difficult to extinguish in the conditions of military operations;
- chemical contamination and soil contamination with sulfur, which, when in contact with water, destroys grass seeds and roots formed by sulfuric acid.
“Military operations directly destroy vegetation and indirectly destroy natural dwellings. For endemic and sparsely distributed species, such changes can be fatal,” the article stressed.
Harm to water resources
Russian troops are carrying out targeted strikes on infrastructure for water intake, treatment and supply, as well as sewage treatment plants.
So on July 5, Russian troops launched a missile strike on the Khmelnitsky region. The target of the strikes was a water tower that fully supplies water to the local community. Due to Russian aggression, water supply and sanitation facilities in Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv regions were significantly damaged.
In occupied Mariupol, up to 3% of the city’s residents have access to water. People are forced to travel kilometers to get in line at water collection points.
The SEI notes that the Russians steal water from the North Crimean canal on a significant scale. According to preliminary estimates, more than 4 million cubic meters of water are stolen from the canal every day, which causes UAH 32.6 million in losses per day. So for 132 days of a full-scale war, the Russian Federation has already owed more than 4 billion hryvnias.
Black and Azov seas
Russian troops are attacking infrastructure along the coasts of the Black and Azov seas and ships at anchor, which leads to water pollution and the spread of toxins in the sea.
On July 1, the Russians launched missile strikes on tourist infrastructure facilities in the Odessa region. On the evening of July 1, 2022, Russian aircraft attacked the island of Zmeiny with phosphorus bombs, at least one bomb fell directly into the Black Sea.
Russian troops have deployed a large number of mines in the Black Sea that threaten navigation, people and marine animals.
On July 2, on one of the beaches in the Odessa region, while swimming, a man was blown up by an explosive device and died. On July 3, a sea mine drifted from the Black Sea to the Dniester estuary. The mine was detected in time. It was located on a coastal area with difficult access, but specialists of the Navy’s subversive team ensured its neutralization. According to the Odessa regional department of the state emergency service, due to the large number of explosive objects in the water area, beaches in the Odessa region will not be opened.