War affects 20% of natural reserves in Ukraine

0.9 million hectares of nature reserved area of Ukraine damaged as a result of Russian armed aggression

Dzharylhach National Nature Park
Dzharylhach National Nature Park. Photo by Konstyantyn Burkut

KYIV. Nov 6 (Interfax-Ukraine) – A total of 812 natural reserves with a total area of 0.9 million hectares, which is more than 20% of all nature conservation areas in the country, were damaged as a result of Russian armed aggression against Ukraine, the press service of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ministry of Ukraine said on Monday.

"Some 2.9 million hectares of the Emerald Network territories – 160 territories that are part of the European environmental network and protected under the legislation of the EU and the Council of Europe – are under threat of destruction. Some 17 wetlands of international importance [under the protection of the Ramsar Convention], having status due to their unique biodiversity, are at risk... Two wetlands of international importance have been practically destroyed: the Big and Small Kuchugury Archipelago and the Sim Mayakiv Floodplain," the ministry said.

Currently 514 objects of the natural reserve fund with an area of 0.80 million hectares remain occupied.

"The entire protected area (1,588 hectares), the most valuable steppe area of the Dzharylhach National Nature Park, was destroyed. The habitats of flora and fauna species included in the Red Book of Ukraine, the European Red List of globally endangered animal and plant species were damaged. This list and the scale of losses may grow, because in some parts of Ukraine, fighting is still ongoing, while the rest are under occupation or are awaiting mine clearance," the ministry said.

Russia’s invasion has caused large-scale environmental damage to Ukraine, resulting in unprecedented pollution, collapse of ecosystems and physical elimination of biological species both in Ukraine and throughout the entire region as well as the world.

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