The damage to Ukrainian ecology caused by Russia's war on Ukraine is now estimated at $35.3 billion, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, said on Monday.
"Millions of hectares of nature preserves are under threat. Article 55 of the Protocol I [Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts] prohibits waging war VS the natural environment by way of reprisals, but Russia doesn’t care," he tweeted, referencing a 1977 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions.
Ukraine's Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources said in a Facebook post Monday: "The conduct of hostilities deepens the climate crisis, causing significant emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere."
According to the latest calculations of the Ministry of Environment, the war has directly led to emissions of 33 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. The ministry broke that figure down, listing the estimated emissions from combat, the movement of internally displaced people and fires in the country.
Some background: In May last year, CNN reported how Ukraine’s fertile soil was becoming contaminated with heavy metals and other potentially poisonous substances leaking from missiles, military equipment and spent ammunition.
Spilled fuel is polluting ground waters and ecosystems are being hammered by tanks and other heavy technology. All of this is damage that will be felt for decades after the war ends.
In December, Kyiv-based non-profit the Center for Environmental Initiatives Ecoaction published a report that said, "the population’s access to water in many regions of the country has significantly deteriorated".
"As a result of Russia’s armed military aggression against Ukraine, water treatment and purification infrastructure facilities are destroyed, and environmental components are polluted, in particular sources of drinking water and water bodies," it added.