Briefing on the environmental damage caused by the Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine (22-28, 2022) | Ministry of Energy and Environment Protection

by UKCHP_Admin

The Kremlin regime continues to escalate its war of aggression by announcing mobilization and holding fake referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine. At the same time, Russian troops use terrorist methods on the ground, launching targeted attacks on the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine and polluting the environment.

Despite the war, Ukraine continues implementing European integration reforms in environmental protection. The Verkhovna Rada adopted the draft law on establishing the national Pollutant Release and Transfer Register in Ukraine. The parliament also ratified the Agreement on Ukraine’s accession to the EU LIFE Program. Thanks to LIFE co-financing, Ukraine will have more opportunities to restore damaged or destroyed natural ecosystems, build animal rehabilitation centers, revitalize rivers, etc.

“As Ukraine continues to resist Russian aggression and almost all financial resources are directed to the country’s defense sector, the partnership within the LIFE program is extremely important for the protection and restoration of the environment,” – noted Ruslan Strilets, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine.

On September 27, the Government of Ukraine approved the Procedure for management of waste generated by damage or destruction of buildings as a result of hostilities or works to liquidate its consequences, developed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine together with the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine.

During a working visit to the Kharkiv region, Minister Ruslan Strilets commented: “According to the Kharkiv military regional administration, almost 11,000 buildings were destroyed and damaged in the region. Over 7,000 are destroyed residential buildings turned into 350,000 cubic meters of demolition waste. The Procedure for demolition waste management approved by the Government will serve as a guideline for communities that are rebuilding their cities and settlements after the Russian invasion.”

Nuclear and radiation safety threats

The situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant continues to threaten global radiation safety.

Currently, two IAEA inspectors are permanently stationed at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. However, the Russian military ignores this fact and continues shelling the ZNPP.

According to the IAEA report, experts at the ZNPP witnessed shelling on September 26 near the facility’s electrical switchyard, a few hundred meters from the plant’s training centre.

On the morning of September 27, two more explosions occurred near a channel that carries water from a reservoir to the plant for its cooling system, an essential element for nuclear safety. According to the IAEA experts, there was no damage to plant structures and equipment, but windows in the turbine hall of reactor unit 2 were broken.

On September 26, during a speech in Vienna at the plenary session of the General Conference of the International Nuclear Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the IAEA, once again emphasized the need to create a nuclear safety and security protection zone at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and reported that negotiations were ongoing. Mr. Grossi added that last week he held high-level meetings in New York where this proposal received strong international support.

Recent attacks on infrastructure and industry sites

On September 22, Russian troops:

  • shelled Zaporizhzhia, damaging a hotel and restaurant complex, a television tower, and an electrical substation;
  • launched a rocket attack at Mykolaiv. As a result of the attack, a warehouse caught fire.

On September 23, the occupiers:

  • shelled and damaged a gas pipeline in the Bashtanskyi district of the Mykolaiv region, and a fire broke out;
  • destroyed a civil infrastructure object in Zaporizhzhia;
  • damaged an office building of the industrial facility in Mykolaiv.

On September 24, Russian troops:

  • shelled the town of Marganets with artillery, damaging a bread factory where a fire broke out;
  • shelled and damaged an administration building of the Avdiivka Coke Chemical Plant.

On September 25, Russian occupiers:

  • launched about 10 rockets at Zaporizhzhia: in one of the districts, an electrical substation was cut off. Also, as a result of an attack, a repair shop of one of the enterprises caught fire on an area of 200 square meters;
  • fired cluster munitions at the territory of one of the enterprises in the Kryvyi Rih district;
  • shelled and damaged the infrastructure of an agro-industrial enterprise in the Chuguyiv district of the Kharkiv region.

On September 26, Russian troops:

  • attacked the Odesa region with kamikaze drones. As a result of a large-scale fire and the detonation of ammunition, the evacuation of the civilian population was organized;
  • hit a civilian infrastructure facility in Pervomaiskyi. After the missile strike, part of the Kharkiv region was left without access to drinking water;
  • attacked a civilian airport in the city of Kryvyi Rih with a Kh-59 rocket. The infrastructure of the facility was destroyed.

On September 27, the Russian military:

  • shelled the Mykolaiv downtown. As a result, several civilian facilities were damaged, a warehouse caught fire and was destroyed;
  • massively shelled the populated areas of the Chuguyiv, Kupiansk, Kharkiv, Izyum, and Lozova districts. In Kupiansk, an industrial facility caught fire, in Vovchansk a fire broke out at the premises of a meat processing plant, in Kharkiv, as a result of Russian attacks, fires broke out at a power transforming station and at a production enterprise.

On September 28:

  • the occupiers attacked the Kryvyi Rih district with Kh-59 missiles, one of the missiles hit a grain processing enterprise;
  • the industrial zone of Mykolaiv was again hit by rockets.

Large-scale fires at infrastructure and industrial facilities lead to air poisoning with hazardous substances. Pollutants can be carried by winds over long distances.

According to the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine, as of September 22, as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, a total of 349 critical infrastructure facilities of heat supply were affected: 335 boiler houses (332 damaged and 13 destroyed), 11 CHP plants (seven damaged and four destroyed) and three TPPs.

Pollution caused directly by hostilities

According to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service, from February 24 to September 27, 212,902 explosive devices, including 2,111 aircraft bombs, were neutralized in Ukraine. An area of 71,474 hectares was surveyed for explosives.

Russia’s war against Ukraine is accelerating climate change and causing increased greenhouse gas emissions. This was stated by Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection Svitlana Grynchuk during the discussion “Climate governance: from post-war recovery to EU membership”.

According to Svitlana Grynchuk, hostilities in Ukraine cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. For example, according to preliminary estimates by experts, due to the increased consumption of oil products by military equipment, almost 4 million tons of CO2 were released into the atmosphere during the 150 days of a full-scale invasion. This is 10 times more than the emissions of military equipment in Ukraine for the whole of 2021.

According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, during the 7 months of the war, the Russian occupying forces lost more than 14,000 pieces of equipment. Destroyed military equipment and ammunition, as well as exploded missiles and aerial bombs, contaminate the soil and groundwater with chemicals, including heavy metals. The destroyed equipment left in rivers and lakes is also dangerous because metal oxidation can lead to water pollution.

As of September 23, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, 11,276 civilian objects have been partially or completely damaged in the Mykolayiv region. This was reported by the Mykolayiv regional administration press service.

According to the deputy mayor of Izyum, recently liberated from occupation, 80-90% of the buildings in the city have been destroyed. There is no electricity in the city, the gas pipeline and gas pumping stations have been destroyed, and the heat supply system is not working.

The destruction of buildings and settlements leads to environmental pollution with construction debris and asbestos. The consequences of such pollution for the environment will be felt for years.

Damage to natural reserves and protected ecosystems

During a working visit to the Kharkiv region, Minister Ruslan Strilets informed that 3 national natural parks of the Kharkiv region – Dvorichansky, Gomilshansky forests, and Slobozhansky – continue to be under threat today. There were 90 forest fires recorded on the territory of forestries of the Kharkiv region on an area of ​​126 hectares, causing losses estimated at UAH 3.4 million.

According to the media reports, the only colony of beavers on the banks of the Kakhovsky Reservoir within the Kherson region is under threat of extinction.

A whole settlement of beavers, consisting of 8-10 families (up to eighty beavers) was located on the banks of the Mylivska brook near the village of Mylove, the Beryslav district on the territory of the Kamianska Sich National Nature Park.

When Kherson Oblast was occupied by Russian troops, they placed an anti-aircraft defense unit in Mylivska Balka. When the anti-aircraft systems were operating (and this happened both during the day and at night), explosions rang out, and fragments of anti-aircraft missiles also fell into the water and on beaver huts. Currently, local residents do not observe beavers: they have either died or moved to a place where people would not disturb them.

Damage to freshwater resources

On September 21, Russian troops shelled and damaged the upper sluice of the Pechenihy reservoir in the Kharkiv region. There is a threat of destruction of the dam of the Pechenihy hydroelectric complex, which can lead to catastrophic flooding of the territories downstream.

On September 23, the Karlivska filter station in the Donetsk region ceased operations again due to the military actions of the Russian invaders. Several cities in the region have no water supply.

On September 24, Russian missiles fell into the waters of the Southern Bug River.

On September 27, as a result of enemy shelling, the water supply system in Mykolaiv was damaged. Due to the loss of a large volume of water, there is no water supply in the central part of the city, while other areas are supplied with reduced pressure.

The liquidation of the consequences of the destruction by Russian troops of the dam of the Karachunivske reservoir on the Ingulets River continues. A recent analysis of samples from the Ingulets River assessed the water quality within the “good” and “mediocre” categories. Also, the temporary reddening of the water in the river does not pose a threat.

However, the shelling and destruction of the dam caused damage to the river itself, in particular by increasing the phosphate and nitrite levels in the water, probably due to the flooding of utilities and cesspools in the yards. Also, construction debris, formed as a result of the explosion, branches, and other plant remains, which were washed away, as well as household garbage, got into the river. Phosphates can lead to excessive reproduction of blue-green algae, i.e. “water bloom”. This phenomenon reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water and negatively affects the river inhabitants.

Black and Azov Seas

Russian troops are attacking infrastructure along the Black and Azov Seas and ships at anchor, polluting water and spreading toxins into the sea.

On September 22, as a result of Russian strikes on Ochakiv, the Mykolaiv region, a tugboat caught fire. The fire was extinguished in an area of 50 square meters.

On September 23, Russian troops attacked Odesa with kamikaze drones from the sea. Two drones destroyed an administration building in the port area.



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