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Prosecutor General's Office investigates 11 cases of ecocide committed since start of war

KYIV. March 6 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Prosecutors of environmental prosecutor’s offices have been involved in the investigation of 104 war crimes that have caused damage to the environment, 11 of them were initiated on the fact of ecocide, Deputy Prosecutor General Viktoria Lytvynova said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine about environmental damage from hostilities on Monday.

“Now the prosecutors of the environmental prosecutor’s offices are involved in procedural leadership in criminal proceedings on 104 war crimes that caused damage to the environment, 11 of which are being investigated on the fact of committing ecocide. We are talking about an attack on oil depots, shelling of oil depots, during which there is significant pollution of both atmospheric air and soil,” Lytvynova said.

According to her, one example of ecocide is the systematic attacks and shelling of the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, which houses several separate nuclear facilities: a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and a subcritical neutron source facility. Since the full-scale Russian invasion, the territory of the university has undergone 75 attacks of various kinds.

In addition, as a result of the aggression, the North Crimean Canal was destroyed, due to which the water began to flood nearby cities and towns, which also caused damage to the environment. Similar criminal proceedings exist regarding damage to a lock of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, after which an uncontrolled discharge of water from the Dnipro River and a decrease in its level began to occur, Lytvynova added.

Speaking about the investigation of criminal proceedings regarding the shelling of tank farms, she said that, despite the fact that, according to the law, tank farms must be placed on a concrete pad to prevent oil from entering the ground, as a result of the shelling, the concrete was “burned to the ground,” and oil products got into soil, and the question is now being investigated whether they got into groundwater.

The Deputy Prosecutor General also indicated that the prosecutor’s office was aware of cases of harm to the animal and water world.

“Perhaps you have heard that cases of dolphins being washed ashore have become more frequent. Currently, a theory has been put forward that the cause of the death of these dolphins is the work of sonar engines,” Lytvynova cited one example.

She clarified that in order to verify or refute these data, autopsies were carried out on dolphins, the brain and inner ears were isolated, after which, in January 2023, they were transferred for research to universities in Italy and Germany.

Also, the acting head of the State Ecological Inspectorate of Ukraine, Ihor Zubovych, said at a press conference that Ukraine does not have access to eight reserves and ten natural parks.

“Many objects of the natural reserve fund suffer from armed aggression. These are about eight reserves and ten national natural parks: the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve, Askania-Nova, the Azov-Syvash National Park, the Oleshky Sands National Nature Park and Dzharylhach. Unfortunately, they are located in the occupied territories, there is no access to them,” he said during a press conference.

According to him, although the leaders are in the controlled territories, the workers continue to look after the parks and work there.