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Two years on from Putin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine

By Serhii Kurykin

Another bloody milestone, two years since Vladimir Putin launched the brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine and brought war once again to Europe. The global environmental and humanitarian challenges created by this war demand the unity of mankind and the mobilisation of all the resources and efforts.

The largest war in Europe since WWII, caused by the Russian assault on Ukraine, lasting already two years, killing thousands of innocent people. While the military aspects of this conflict understandably dominate the international agenda, the environmental damage needs greater attention.

Image of a large crater and burnt forest caused by a Russian ballistic missile.
Significant environmental damage caused by a Russian ballistic missile. (February 7, 2024, near Kyiv city)

Any war is harmful for the environment. The wide scale of the military clashes since February 24, 2022 till December, 2023 caused the direct environmental damage in $3 billion USD according to the Third Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA3) prepared by the World Bank, EU and UN and published in February, 2024.

Ukraine lost 35 to 40% of its fresh water reserves due to Russia's destruction of the Kakhovka Dam. Before the explosion, there were approximately 18.6 million cubic km of water, now there are 3-3.5 million cubic km left in the river bed.

Satellite images showing the water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir before and after the Russian destruction of the dam.
Satellite images of the Kakhovka Reservoir. Credit BBC.

The massive flood caused by the dam breach affected 80 Ukrainian settlements with 100 000 of residents. The total real quantity of the victims still is unknown and long-term ecosystem services losses calculated as USD $9.6 billion. The flood consequences will affect the biodiversity for decades. Restoration of the infrastructure in the region will demand not only long years and high costs, but also the removal of the occupying Russian forces.

WePlanet support the demand of Ukrainian environmentalists to restore the dam and artificial lake in environment friendly way, with consideration of rewilding and biodiversity protection interests. The Russian military have carried out at least 2500 environmental crimes, according to Ukrainian government information. WePlanet strongly support demands that those responsible be held accountable according to international law.

Despite the numerous sanctions, oil and gas trade with Russia continues. It means that the incomes from the fossil fuel continue to feed Russian military machine. Gas, oil, as well as  global food supply dependences, still used by Russia as tool of pressure on European and world community, as "hybrid weaponry" in the war against Ukraine.  The Switch Off Putin campaign, conducted by WePlanet since very beginning of the war, has highly significant meaning to support Ukraine and  fair international order.

The Switch Off Putin campaign, conducted by WePlanet since the very beginning of the war, has highly significant meaning to support Ukraine and a just international order.

A picture of Putin over the background of war damage in Ukraine. The words Switch Off Putin cover Putin's eyes.

So, WePlanet continue this campaign aimed to to stop global dependence on Russian fossil fuels and nuclear fuel. WePlanet consistently support Ukrainian people in their struggle for freedom and sovereignty. WePlanet always remains on the side of justice, humanism and environmental responsibility.

Members of WePlanet Ukraine present an update at our General Assembly in August, 2023
Margaryta and Serhii from WePlanet Ukraine present an update at our General Assembly in August, 2023

PS - Ukraine's electricity grid is heavily damaged, and struggling to provide electricity to everyone that needs it, forcing many to rely on dirty diesel generators - bad for human health, and bad for the climate.

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