29/02/2024 08:05 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 (Bernama) -- Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine over the past two years has caused devastating ecocide to the latter’s environment, with at least UAH2.2 trillion (US$57.3 billion) in environmental damage so far. 

The Ukrainian embassy in Malaysia said the war is putting a heavy toll on the country’s biodiversity, with thousands of plant and animal species facing extinction, and causing massive air, water and soil pollutions. 

“In light of these crises, Ukraine is calling on the global environmental protection community and policymakers to prioritise addressing Russia's ecological warfare and hold the aggressor accountable for its crimes against Ukraine and the planet,” it said in a statement to Bernama.

Almost 3,600 cases of environmental damage caused by Russia’s aggression have already been recorded since the war began on Feb 24, 2022, and the Prosecutor General's Office is investigating 15 cases of ecocide.

The ecological damage extends to Ukraine's forests, with one-third of them damaged. This is equivalent to 4.2 million football fields in size.

The war has also affected 20 per cent of protected Ukrainian areas, including national parks and reserves, where illegal logging is rampant in areas occupied by Russian forces.

According to the embassy, the environmental pollution caused by the war is posing a long-term threat to public health.

“Air pollution has also emerged as a significant concern, with the war releasing over 42 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere within the first ten months of the invasion.

“The financial losses incurred due to the environmental damage are staggering, with air pollution-related losses alone reaching US$27 million,” it said. 

Ukraine also faces the threat of landmines, with approximately one-third or 156,000 square kilometres of its territories exposed to Russian mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

On the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in June 2023, the embassy said although efforts to mitigate the environmental fallouts are underway, it is expected to cause long-term consequences to the local ecosystem and wildlife. 




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