The recent upsurge in violence in eastern Ukraine has focused attention on the serious risk that the fighting between Ukrainian government forces and separatists could trigger serious environmental and humanitarian consequences.
Abstract from ‘The Toxic Remnants of War Project report:
‘Three factors have mediated the ongoing environmental risks from the region’s industrial sites; the first relates to where armed confrontations take place; where the use of explosive weapons risks damage to facilities and where operations may be interrupted by fighting.
The second factor is an unfolding “trade blockade” on the transport of goods and supplies across the line of contact, which is being organised by veterans of volunteer battalions from the Ukraine-controlled side. The third factor is access to electricity. It should also be noted that many of the region’s industrial facilities are in close proximity to urban areas.
Since 2015, when the environmental consequences of a conflict in such a heavily industrialised region as Ukraine were first becoming apparent, the Ukrainian government has repeatedly raised the issue at the UN level. Firstly, in September 2015 at the UN General Assembly; then at the Paris climate-change conference; and in December 2015 through the tabling of a resolution on the Protection of the environment in areas affected by armed conflict, ahead of May 2016’s meeting of the UN Environment Assembly. The resolution eventually passed by consensus after months of difficult negotiations, although as tradition dictates, it did not specifically address the conflict in eastern Ukraine’.