Briefing on the environmental damage caused by the Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine (October 6-12, 2022) | Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine

by UKCHP_Admin

Russian invaders try to cover up their failures in direct battles with the Ukrainian Armed Forces by resorting to massive missile terror against Ukraine’s civilians and infrastructure. Cynical Russian attacks violate the basic principles of international law and cause significant damage to the environment.

In his speech at the Ninth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine Ruslan Strilets said: “Ukraine is ready not only to fight for its future. We are initiating the establishment of a Global Platform for the development of international methodologies for assessing environmental damage caused by military operations. Ukraine’s Ministry of Environmental Protection already has significant achievements in this area and is ready to share them with the world. This is important because the war will impact thousands of kilometers around the Ukrainian border. In Ukraine, environmental damage already amounts to at least EUR 36 billion.”

In the Ministerial Declaration adopted as an outcome of the Ninth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, European countries officially condemned Russian crimes against the Ukrainian environment and Belarus’ involvement in this act of aggression against Ukraine. They also assured of further support of Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction.

Minister Strilets shared more details about the environmental damage caused by Russian aggression and the increasing international support for the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine in an interview with Euronews.

Nuclear and radiation safety threats

The occupiers continue to neglect the nuclear safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station threatening the world with a radiation disaster.

On October 6, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the Zaporizhzhia NPP safety issues with the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi. Raphael Grossi emphasized that the Kremlin’s decree on the transfer of the Zaporizhzhia NPP to the control of Russia is a violation of international law. He also assured that the IAEA would contact Ukraine exclusively regarding all issues related to the station.

On October 8, due to another shelling by Russian troops, the last 750kV ZNPP-Dnipro power line connecting the ZNPP with Ukraine’s energy grid was damaged and disconnected. As a result, the Zaporizhzhia NPP was completely cut off from the external power supply. Diesel generators turned on automatically. On October 9, Ukrainian specialists repaired the damaged power line.

On October 10, representatives of Rosatom, who are illegally present at the ZNPP, began to force the plant’s personnel to sign labor agreements with the fake “Zaporizhzhia NPP” with a legal address in Moscow. On this day, Russian terrorists kidnapped Valery Martyniuk, Deputy General Director of the Zaporizhzhia NPP responsible for HR. Probably by using their typical methods of torture and intimidation, the occupiers wanted to force the Ukrainian personnel to start working for Rosatom as soon as possible.

On October 11, Energoatom reported that the Russian occupiers were delivering beds, mattresses, and boilers to the machine rooms of the 1st and 2nd power units of the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Invaders are trying to organize winter barracks and significantly increase their presence at the nuclear plant.

On the morning of October 12, the Dniprovska substation was damaged due to the Russian missile attack. As a result, the 750kV ZNPP-Dnipro power line was disconnected in emergency mode. The Zaporizhzhia NPP was again completely cut off from the external power supply. Diesel generators were switched on automatically to cool the active zones of the nuclear reactors. On the evening of October 12, Energoatom reported that Ukrainian specialists found a technical solution and restored the work of a power line.

Both the direct shelling of the ZNPP by Russians and the shelling of energy infrastructure needed for the operation of nuclear plants are evidence of nuclear terrorism leading to the threat of a radiation accident.

Recent attacks on infrastructure and industry sites

On October 6, Russian troops:

  • carried out several kamikaze drone strikes on industrial facilities in Kharkiv’s Osnovianskyi district, causing fires;
  • shelled and damaged an enterprise in Nikopol, the Dnipropetrovsk region;
  • shelled and destroyed dairy and pig farms in the Zaporizhzhia region. More than 6,000 pigs and 1,000 cows died in the attack.

On October 7, as a result of Russian shelling, a fire broke out on the territory of a furniture workshop in Kupiansk, the Kharkiv region.

On October 8, Russian troops shelled an agricultural enterprise in the Sumy region: agricultural machinery was damaged.

On October 9, Russian occupiers:

  • shelled a production facility in Kupiansk, the Kharkiv region, causing a fire;
  • launched a massive rocket attack on Zaporizhzhia: a nine-story residential building was partially destroyed, five private houses were completely destroyed, infrastructure objects were damaged, 13 civilians were killed, and 89 were injured.

On October 10, Russian forces launched one of the most massive missile strikes since the beginning of the large-scale invasion – more than 80 cruise missiles were fired at Ukraine. The Russians attacked energy facilities in Kyiv and the Kyiv region, Lviv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Vinnytsia, the Khmelnytskyi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, and Kirovohrad regions. The attacks caused 30 fires. Millions of Ukrainians were left without electricity and a water supply.

On October 11, the occupiers again attacked Ukraine with missiles and kamikaze drones. Infrastructure objects in the Lviv, Vinnytsia, and Dnipropetrovsk regions were targeted and hit.

The Minister of Energy of Ukraine stated that on October 10-11, about 30% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was hit by Russian missiles.

On October 12, Russian troops:

  • struck energy facilities in the Kamianskyi district of the Dnipropetrovsk region, causing a severe fire and destruction;
  • shelled from artillery and damaged two enterprises, gas pipes, and power lines in Nikopol;
  • shelled the central market in Avdiivka, the Donetsk region.

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

Pollution caused directly by hostilities

According to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service, from February 24 to October 12, 237,434 explosive devices, including 2,133 aircraft bombs, were neutralized in Ukraine. An area of 73,303 hectares was surveyed for explosives.

As of October 5, Russian troops damaged or destroyed 12,013 civilian objects in the Mykolaiv region, among which 7,742 residential buildings. This was reported by the Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration.

Destruction of buildings and settlements leads to pollution by construction debris and asbestos. The consequences of such pollution to the environment will last for years.

Damage to natural reserves and protected ecosystems

The full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine caused significant losses to forests in the Donetsk region. According to the preliminary data from the Donetsk Regional Department of Forestry and Hunting, the occupiers destroyed more than 15,000 hectares of forest. As a result of the recent successful counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the north of the Donetsk region, 60,000 hectares of forests were liberated.

The occupiers destroyed the forest seed selection center built in 2021 near Lyman, the Donetsk region. The pre-war capacities of this seed center were enough to gradually restore forests not only in the Donetsk region but also in the Luhansk region.

During the Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia in the morning of October 11, most of the rockets hit the protected island of Khortytsia. Some of the missiles hit the local strip. One missile hit the island’s rock.

On October 10, Russian rockets destroyed Shevchenko Park, a favorite place for walking and recreation for residents and visitors to Kyiv. Damage to trees and plants caused by this attack amounts to UAH 2.25 million (EUR 62,600).

As a result of Russian missile attacks on October 10, the National Antarctic Science Center office in Kyiv was also damaged. This scientific institution develops and implements programs of Ukrainian research in the Antarctic, particularly interdisciplinary research in the field of environmental protection.

Damage to freshwater resources

Russian troops are deliberately striking at the infrastructure for water intake, purification, supply, and sewage treatment facilities. Due to the Russian aggression, water supply and sewerage facilities in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, and Mykolaiv regions have been significantly damaged.

The city of Mykolaiv is in a critical situation regarding the water supply. On October 6, Mykolaiv was again entirely left without running water due to a serious accident in the water network. In the last week, running water has been supplied to Mykolaiv residents’ apartments for only a few hours a day due to lengthy repair work after Russian rockets hit the city’s water supply on September 27.

On October 5, the Russians shelled a dam of the Karlivske reservoir in the Donetsk region. On October 6, during the chaotic retreat, Russian troops blew up the dam causing flooding in the settlement of Raihorodok.

According to the SEI, after the Russian shelling of the hydraulic facilities of the Karachunivske reservoir, the water quality indicators in the Ingulets river have completely stabilized. The outflow of water resources from the Karachunivske reservoir reached 16.9 million cubic meters. The preliminary amount of environmental damage due to the missile strike and damage to the reservoir’s dam is estimated at UAH 637 million.

[Read more:]


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More