War's Toll on Ukraine's Environment Surpasses $65.5 Billion, Says Environment Minister

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.10 - 2024 10:06 AM CET

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Photo: Roman Rvachov / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Roman Rvachov / Shutterstock.com
Ukraine's environmental damage from the ongoing conflict now exceeds the cost of destroyed infrastructure.

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The environmental damage caused by the war in Ukraine has now surpassed 2.4 trillion hryvnias (approximately $65.5 billion USD or €60.7 billion EUR), according to Ruslan Strilets, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, in an interview with Ukrinform.

"Today, the damage caused to the environment as a result of the war already exceeds 2.4 trillion hryvnias. We understand that the environmental damage even surpasses that of the destroyed infrastructure," Strilets stated.

He further mentioned that the overall damage would significantly increase once the losses from disrupted ecosystem services are accounted for.

Innovations in Environmental Damage Assessment

According to Strilets, "we are collaborating with experts from the United States to integrate ecosystem services into our actual environmental loss calculations. This refers to what people could have benefited from had the natural environment been preserved"

"Therefore, if we include the value of ecosystem services, the cost related to a polluted square centimeter of land or air, polluted by tons of contaminants, will surge by hundreds of times," the minister elaborated.

Strilets explained that seven methods are currently employed to calculate the damages, and these methodologies are updated almost monthly.

The State Environmental Inspectorate monitors environmental violations around the clock, while data is also gathered from the "EkoZagroza" app users, now numbering over 80,000 individuals and documenting over 4,200 environmental crimes.

"In the future, we aim to evolve 'EkoZagroza' into an everyday tool for every environmental inspector after certain updates and legislative changes. This will enable us to eliminate paper documentation and record everything digitally," said Strilets.

A recent example cited was the environmental damage from a Russian drone attack on an infrastructure site in Zvyagel, Zhytomyr region, preliminarily estimated at nearly 50 million UAH (approximately $1.36 million USD or €1.26 million EUR).

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