Ukraine sets out environmental cost of Russian invasion

22nd November 2022


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to 2,263 reports of damage to the environment, including the destruction of forests and widespread pollution of water and fields.

Ukraine’s environment minister Ruslan Strilets said the war had inflicted widespread and severe damage to the environment, with immediate and longer-term consequences for the country’s human health, ecosystems, economy and more.

The minimum loss to the environment and natural resources is estimated at US$441bn, while Ukrainian estimates of the damage to infrastructure, housing and non-residential buildings exceed US$100bn due to the vast destruction of homes, roads and railways, as well as agricultural land and other productive capacity.

The shelling of forests, land and marine ecosystems, industrial facilities, transport infrastructure, and energy, water, sanitation and waste management infrastructure has also caused widespread and severe damage.

Ukraine’s authorities estimate that 900 protected natural areas have been affected, amounting to 1.2m hectares, or about 30% of such areas. Russia’s invasion had damaged three million hectares of forests, many being littered with destroyed or abandoned military vehicles, while 11 have been destroyed by fires from shelling.

Speaking at COP27, Strilets said that Ukraine is launching a platform to evaluate the environmental damage caused by the invasion, which he hopes will “strengthen international co-operation to restore the environment affected by armed conflicts”.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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