In a recent report published on Friday, a high-level working group emphasized the need for Russia to address the environmental costs resulting from its invasion of Ukraine. The report highlights various damages, including landmine contamination, disturbance of radioactive dust near Chernobyl, and the breach of the Kakhovka Dam, which flooded agricultural land and ecosystems.
Led by Ukraine’s presidential administration, the group unveiled 50 recommendations aimed at assessing damages, holding Russia accountable, and promoting a green recovery. Co-chaired by former Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom, the group includes prominent figures such as EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, environmental activist Greta Thunberg, and Ukraine’s prosecutor general Andrii Kostin.
The recommendations advocate for establishing mechanisms to track and preserve evidence of environmental impacts, appointing officials to oversee climate-friendly reconstruction, and developing strategies for prosecuting wartime environmental damage. Additionally, the report suggests that international human rights investigations should consider environmental consequences as a human rights issue.
Urging Ukraine to expedite the development of its Mine Action Strategy and provide guidance on the removal of toxic waste, the report also explores avenues for funding such initiatives. This includes utilizing frozen Russian state assets held in overseas accounts.
EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius expressed readiness to support Ukraine’s efforts for recovery and reconstruction, emphasizing financial, technical, and legislative assistance.
The report underscores the importance of addressing environmental concerns in conflict zones and advocates for accountability and reparations to mitigate the long-term impacts of war on ecosystems and communities.