Ukraine investigates 271 Russian war crimes against environment
On Monday, November 27, Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said that Ukraine is investigating 271 war crimes against the environment committed by Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.
Andriy Kostin said this during his virtual speech at a meeting of the High Level Working Group on the Environmental Consequences of War for Ukraine, which took place in the European Parliament, Ukrinform reports.
"We investigate cases of crimes against the environment and crimes of ecocide in accordance with the articles of the Criminal Code. We are talking about the mass destruction of flora and fauna, poisoning of air or water resources, as well as any other actions that could lead to a natural disaster. For the first time in history, the state of Ukraine considers environmental attacks committed on its territory as an international crime. We are currently investigating 271 incidents related to war crimes against the environment," Kostin said.
In addition, 15 cases of ecocide committed by Russia in Ukraine are being investigated. Kostin noted that from the first days of the Russian invasion, Ukrainians faced direct attacks on the environment, including forests, freshwater resources and the marine environment. At the same time, attacks on urban infrastructure and dangerous facilities, such as oil storage facilities, have also resulted in damage to the environment.
The Prosecutor General also recalled the most dangerous crimes committed by Russians, such as the explosion of the Kakhovka Dam or the shelling of nuclear facilities and nuclear waste storage facilities.
"We refer to the principles of international law as it relates to the crime of destroying the Kakhovka dam. This case may become the first crime against the environment to be punished by an international tribunal. Ukraine also intends to record the damage caused to the environment in the newly created register of damage for consideration by an international commission and for future compensation payments, in accordance with international law," the Prosecutor General said.
He expressed gratitude to the European Union for its political support and solidarity with Ukraine, for continuing financial and humanitarian assistance, and for imposing sanctions against the aggressor country. Equally important is the EU's legal assistance and expertise in investigating and qualifying Russian crimes against the environment.
"Today, no one doubts that the damage to nature caused during wars, conflicts and military aggression can lead to multilateral, severe, long-lasting and often irreversible consequences," the head of the Prosecutor General's Office emphasized.
- In September, the amount of environmental damage from the war amounted to $57 billion, and in 2.5 months, the amount of environmental damage has increased by almost $1.5 billion.
- The Ministry of Environment has also calculated how much destruction waste has already accumulated in Ukraine - as of October 31, 2023, this amount was 670,092,547 tons.