The Politics of ego and economic greed have never ceased to drive the world’s events. After WWII, Russia-Ukraine conflict has become the largest military conflict in history. The use of a large amount of military equipment including all types of conventional weapons, involving thousands of armed men from both sides has claimed many lives. Under such vile circumstances where human lives do not matter, the environment is suffering largely as well. Military conflict is destroying the air, water and land resources, forests, nature conservation areas, animal and plant life. The most high-profile act of ecocide is the blowing up of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station on June 6, 2023. It has led to an ecological disaster in the South of Ukraine.
The military conflict accompanied by fires and explosions, is causing atmospheric pollution. The emissions and combustion products have entered the air and accelerated the climate change. 33 million tons of greenhouse gases entered the atmosphere in just one year of hostility. The use of the nuclear reactor sites also has been detected. The flow of radiation was recorded in the Chernobyl zone in February 2022. The radioactive dust raised in the atmosphere caused a number of fires in the Red Forest. Numerous artillery and rocket-bomb strikes not only contaminate soil with rocket fuel, but also damaged their structure, forming deep craters. About 174 thousand square kilometers, almost a third of the territory of Ukraine, are potentially contaminated with explosive objects. About 470,000 hectares of agricultural land in Ukraine were contaminated by mines. This poses a threat to global food security.
The quality of water resources is also decreasing. Ammunition, petroleum products, the bodies of dead people and animals fell into reservoirs and the coasts have polluted the water reserves, which will leave not long-term effects on its flora and fauna. According to an estimate on the Ukrainian side, 3 million hectares of forest are destroyed till yet. Ecologists say, it may take at least 20 years to restore it. Scientists note the negative impact of the war on the population of animals, birds, fish, and amphibians. The population of dolphins in the Black Sea suffered the most. Combat operations, regular shelling and fires, flooding of territories led to mass death of wild and domestic animals. Dozens of species are on the verge of extinction. In the fall of 2022, the research department of the National Nature Conservation Park reported the death of 50,000 individuals; 20% of the entire Black Sea population. The damage is continuing to inflict, as war is not ended yet.
According to the State Environmental Inspection, the estimated amount of damage caused to the environment has reached 60 billion US dollars. It is obvious that the damage is leading to long-term negative consequences for the ecological situation in Ukraine and in the world. Coping with the consequences will require enormous resources. This is a challenge that must be answered not only by Ukraine, but also by the international community.