Unfortunately, the ecocide in Ukraine is ongoing. In June, we experienced the latest example of how military actions can impact not only human lives, but also how they have extremely negative consequences for the natural environment. Specifically, the breaching of the dam at Kakhovka Hydropower Plant (HPP) this month. That tragedy is a vivid reminder of the need to openly and loudly discuss ecocide occurring in Ukraine at the level of international law. It is even more relevant to climate change, when climate adaptation becomes the sole strategy for humanity’s survival.
It is important for the Kakhovka HPP to remain a topic of discussion. We will only be able to analyze and understand the real consequences of this dam’s destruction a few months from now, and understanding consequences of the disappearance of Kakhovka Reservoir will require a year or more. For now, we can only survey the near-term consequences, as described by UWEC Work Group journalist Viktoriya Hubareva:
It is also important to note that the HPP itself is used to artificially regulate the Dnipro River. The United Nations is of the opinion that, in the very near future, the destruction of dams could become a serious problem not only for human society, but also for nature. It is for this reason that experts recommend abandoning the concept of restoration of the Kakhovka HPP and the reservoir that feeds it and instead finding more sustainable modern solutions that will also meet the principles of a “green economy”. Community organizations created an open petition (to which UWEC Work Group is a signatory) seeking to prevent the HPP’s restoration:
We continue efforts to draw global attention to under-examined environmental consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, issues not widely covered, but nevertheless important to discuss. One such example is the Kerch bridge. Construction of this “object of the century” has already caused serious damage to the unique peninsula’s protected areas and affected the Black Sea’s entire hydrological regime and marine ecosystem. Unfortunately, it is highly likely that the bridge will continue to have negative impacts. Given its role as a strategic target, it will be part of the process to free occupied territories. Our experts Oleksii Vasyliuk and Valeria Kolodezhna write the latest article in our series on the negative consequences of the invasion for Crimea, focusing this time on environmental aspects of the Kerch Bridge’s construction:
The war is also weakening environmental policy within Ukraine. Vulnerable sectors suffer in particular, including, for example, forestry. Special for UWEC Work Group, Valeria Kolodezhna interviewed Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group’s Yehor Hrynyk. Hrynyk describes how the war has affected forestry management in Ukraine, including “hot spots” of confrontation between activists and government authorities. One example – the Svydovets mountain range – is particularly relevant:
As we have previously examined, the war has extremely negative consequences for Russia’s environmental practices as well. Gradual recognition of environmental organizations as “undesirable” is ongoing, not only blocking their work, but also the possibility of cooperation. Bellona, Greenpeace, and recently WWF have all been declared “undesirable”. UWEC expert Eugene Simonov shares his assessment:
UWEC Work Group not only publishes articles but hosts discussions about the environmental consequences of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In addition to UWEC’s webinars organized jointly with Reporters Without Borders (RSF)–Sweden and the Svea Green Foundation, our experts also recently participated in a webinar hosted by University of New South Wales–Canberra. Learn about the topics and discussion in a commentary by UWEC author and expert Viktoriya Hubareva:
Discussion during the UNSW webinar inspired UWEC experts Eugene Simonov and Angelina Davydova to explore prospects for Russia’s “green future”. The editorial was prepared and published jointly with Kedr.Media: