In August 2016, the district administration became known that at Tarutynsky steppe from the perspective of farmers is carried a desiccation – processing herbicide, continuous action to destroy the weeds.dzd%c2%b3dned%c2%b8-d%c2%b2-n%c2%81nd%c2%b5dd%c2%b8

After the burning of the steppe vegetation was doing a site preparation for plowing up. In connection with this administration of Tarutynska district appealed to the Department of Ecology of the Odessa regional administration with a request to stop the illegal operation. However, the Department of Environment and Regional Environmental Inspectorate of the district administration ignored the request and continued to destroy the steppe.

Before the plow the steppe, the representatives of the Ministry of Defense appealed to the representatives of the Emergency Situations Ministry in the Odessa region to conduct a survey, collection and destruction of missiles that were on the former firing range from different periods of the exercise.dd%c2%bddnen%c2%8fdn-d%c2%b2-d%c2%b7ddodd%c2%b7d%c2%bdd%c2%b8dod%c2%b5

It is not known how many shells and bombs were collected. However, the disposal of shells, by their explosion in the center of reserve is a gross violation of the Law of Ukraine “On the nature reserve fund.” So far to no one was presented the damage in the protected area in connection with the explosion.dd%c2%b7nen-n%c2%81ndnenn-n%c2%81d%c2%bddnen%c2%8fdd%c2%bed%c2%b2

According to the map showing the state plowing of the steppe territory on November 4, 2016, 1300 hectares of the reserve is already plowed and about 1300 hectares are preparing for the plowing.

It is important that the back ground of the former polygon of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine does not want to carry out military exercises in the area, they will benefit from the commercial exploitation of agricultural land.

Anyway, in spite of the personal view of the Ministry of Defense leadership of this situation, the reserve “Tarutinsky steppe” is the object of natural reserve fund of Ukraine and is protected by acting law. His damage entails liability under Art. 252 of the Criminal Code. According to preliminary estimates, the amount losses from plowing of steppe has already reached at least 1 billion dollars.

Should be noted that the work on plowing of unique steppe were frantic pace, technique have worked day and night. However, on the night from 3 to 4 November and 7 November, the illegal work of plowing of the Tarutinsky steppes were physically stopped with help of the state protection team of the national natural park “”Tuzlovski limany”. They were stopped only by blocking the technique under the guidance of the chief naturalist of the National Nature Park ” Tuzlovski limany “, a famous ecology in Ukraine, Irina Vykhristyuk. At the risk of her health, she tried to stop the powerful John Deere tractor. As a result, she was completely filled with diesel fuel, and got bruises.

In November 11, 2016 the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources appealed to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, to demanding an immediate end of the destruction of Tarutinsky steppe. But, if the Ministry of Defence not hear them, then activists of National Nature Park ” Tuzlovski limany ” will go again to the fight.

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Iryna Shchoka is a regional development expert and is based in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

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