Russian-Ukrainian war. Chemical weapons in Mariupol and fish’s spawning season.

It’s been almost 1,5 months since the Russian Federation has attacked Ukraine. During this time the world saw not only war crimes, but also crimes against nature committed by the Russian army. 

In this article, you can find a summary of the latest environmental news. The European Wilderness Society wants to use its voice to make sure these terrible events are not forgotten and ask the Wilderness Network to join us in standing up for the Ukrainian nation and nature.

Unknown chemical weapon in Mariupol 

On 12th of April, Ukraine accused Russia of using chemical weapons in the besieged port city of Mariupol after reports emerged that people in the area have developed respiratory issues.

The US and Britain say they are looking into reports that chemical weapons have been used by Russian forces attacking the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. The Pentagon called the potential use of the weapons “deeply concerning”.For now, this unknown chemical substance landed on the ground in Mariupol and most probably landed in the Azov Sea. The consequences for nature we will see soon.

Nitrogen leak in Rubizhne 

In the city of Rubizhne, as a result of the Russian military hitting a tank with nitrogen, it leaked. Serhii Haidai, the head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration, wrote about this in a telegram. Nitric acid is very harmful to humans, plants and animals. 

Experts say that the main risk of this crime for nature is the possibility of dangerous acid rain. It is difficult to predict the consequences now, as we don’t know how much of the substance reacted with oxygen, but nitrogen gases are generally quite harmful. Acid that falls with rain due to oxidation can cause plant burns. While high doses can promote the accumulation of nitrates in plant products.

Eugene Zasyadko
Head of climate department in Ecoaction (Ukrainian NGO)

A fish’s spawning season is in danger 

According to the note of the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group, the hostilities of 2022 led to the formation of a radically different picture during the spawning season. 

For example, this occurred in the Kyiv Reservoir, around which large-scale battles unfolded from Kyiv to the most important spawning grounds in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. This is especially true for the largest use of rocket fire by Russian troops during this time, which took place on March 31.03-01.04 in this area to cover the retreat of the remnants of Russian troops.

In the current conditions of insufficient state control, during the spawning period, poaching has spread in many places on water bodies. In particular, the State Agency for Land Reclamation and Fisheries reports *on the website of the press centers of Cherkasy and Poltava regions* about the fixation of offenses in the second half of March 2022 with the confiscation of a total of approximately 1,900 kg of fish. In addition to excessive damage to biodiversity, the attackers caused significant economic damage to Ukraine’s fish stocks.

Don’t forget to visit our page #NGOs4Ukraine and make a donation to support Ukraine directly. You can donate for medical aid, food for animals in the zoos or help for protected areas. All money will go directly to Ukrainian funds. 

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