Russian forces establish de facto control over Askania Nova reserve
The Russian occupation administration has established control over the Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve named after Friedrich Falz-Fein in the Kherson region
The corresponding statement appeared on the reserve's Facebook page.
“On March 20, 2023, the first deputy head of the Russian presidential administration S. Kiriyenko, the 'acting governor' of the Kherson region, collaborator V. Saldo, and an unknown person in the role of director appointed by the 'Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Kherson region' without official introductions – D. Meshcheryakov arrived at the reserve,” the statement said.
According to the institution, it became known from open sources that the occupying forces registered the State Autonomous Institution Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve (without the name of F.E. Falz-Fein) with the date of entry into the Unified State Register of Legal Entities of the Russian Federation on March 7, 2023.
“Thus, the further preservation of the internationally important nature conservation and research institution, the Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve named after F.E. Falz-Fein, cannot be ensured by the Ukrainian administration and is under immediate threat,” the statement said.
Currently, the Ukrainian staff continues to fulfill their functional duties and provide the necessary care for the collections. However, under the current circumstances, it has become virtually impossible to continue this work.
Until now, the institution has been operating in the Ukrainian format and carrying out the types and scope of work envisaged, despite the occupation of the territory, disrupted transport logistics, and numerous organizational problems.
Thanks to charitable donations from the government-controlled territory of Ukraine, the EU and the US, the reserve was able to cover the immediate needs and expenses for feed, fuel and lubricants, veterinary medicines, building materials for the current repair of enclosures and premises where animals are kept, equipment, spare parts and technical means necessary for the protection, life support and maintenance of the zoo and arboretum.
“We did everything in our power and held out with dignity! We cannot continue to support the work of the reserve at the expense of charitable donations until the liberation of the left-bank Kherson region from Russian occupation. However, there is an urgent need for financial support for employees who did not agree to cooperate with the occupation administration. In the near future, we will focus all our efforts on helping the employees who were forced to temporarily leave the institution. This assistance will be no less important, because the subsequent restoration of the reserve after the liberation will depend on these people,” the statement said.
Anyone who wants to help the employees of the institution can do so. The details are in the post.