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Russia’s War on Ukraine Has Inflicted Catastrophic Damage on the Environment, Here Are the Numbers

Russia’s War on Ukraine Has Inflicted Catastrophic Damage on the Environment, Here Are the Numbers

Ukraine’s forests lie ravaged, its land riddled with landmines, and a flooded territory three times the size of Washington D.C.

Russia’s war leaves Ukraine with a catastrophic environmental bill.

A new report by the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces paints a grim picture of the environmental catastrophe unfolding due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. The large-scale invasion has inflicted immense damage on the country’s natural resources and ecosystems.

Here are the numbers.

174,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory have been contaminated with explosive objects, which is equal to the combined area of Austria and Hungary.

This widespread contamination poses a serious threat to civilians and hinders reconstruction efforts.

Ukraine’s vast forests have also borne the brunt of the war.

3 million hectares, roughly the size of Moldova, have been damaged by fighting.

Fires, artillery bombardments, and military maneuvers have all contributed to the destruction of these vital ecological zones.

The attack on the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant by Russian forces in June 2023 has resulted in a major environmental disaster.

The dam breach flooded a massive 620 square kilometers of land — an area equivalent to three Washingtons, D.C.

The flooding has displaced wildlife, disrupted freshwater supplies, and caused widespread damage to agricultural land.

The war’s impact extends beyond the immediate destruction.

It’s estimated to have caused the release of 150 million tons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to Bulgaria’s annual emissions for three years.

These ecologically sensitive zones face an uncertain future under occupation, with potential for further damage to wildlife habitats and biodiversity:

Adding to the environmental toll, Russian forces have occupied over 500 Ukrainian protected areas, including 10 national parks, 8 nature reserves, and 2 biosphere reserves.

This staggering figure underscores the severe economic consequences that will linger long after the war ends.

The total environmental damage inflicted by the war is estimated to exceed $63 billion USD, surpassing the GDP of countries like Estonia.

The immense economic repercussions, with environmental damages exceeding the GDP of entire nations, should serve as a sobering reminder of the urgent need for global intervention to mitigate and address the environmental fallout of war.

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