Environmental activists and civil society representatives in Ukraine have issued a passionate plea to international experts, environmental protection organizations, and United Nations bodies to respond to a recent act of ecocide perpetrated by the Russian Federation.
On June 6, 2023, the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) in Ukraine was destroyed by Russian occupiers, leading to severe environmental consequences for the region.
The destruction of the Kakhovka HPP has resulted in the devastation and disruption of ecosystems in the Kakhovka reservoir and surrounding water bodies. The potential mass mortality of aquatic organisms and the disturbance of habitats for various animals and plants pose significant threats to biodiversity. The environmental impact also extends to three Ukrainian national nature parks, the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve, and other protected areas of international importance.
Moreover, the criminal act has led to the pollution of the Dnipro River’s waters, flooding of residential and industrial areas, property loss and destruction, and the risk of spreading infectious diseases due to contaminated water and soil.
Most importantly, the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP dam jeopardizes global nuclear safety, as it could hinder the cooling process of the nearby Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant.
The environmental civil society movement emphasizes that these actions violate international conventions, such as the Geneva Conventions and agreements related to wetland and wildlife conservation. They argue that the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP qualifies as a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and should be classified as ecocide under Ukrainian law.
The activists urge the international community to provide assistance in gathering evidence, assessing the environmental consequences, and implementing measures to mitigate the impact on the affected region. They also call for the establishment of a tribunal for the Russian Federation and Belarus and the inclusion of ecocide as a crime in the Rome Statute.
This act of ecocide highlights the urgent need for global cooperation in preventing such environmental destruction in the future and safeguarding the well-being of ecosystems and communities.
The Kakhovka reservoir, spanning an area of 2,155 km² and holding a water volume of 18.19 km³, is the largest reservoir in Ukraine. It stretches across three regions (Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kherson) and spans 240 km in length. The hydroelectric complex, consisting of structures spanning almost 4 km, raised the water level of the Dnieper River by 16 m. The devastating terrorist attack on the complex will have far-reaching ecological consequences, impacting an estimated area of at least 5,000 km², including flood and drainage zones. Moreover, the exposed area, previously submerged for the past 68 years, will now exceed 1,000 km².
To contact with experts please reach our Baktygul Chynybaeva, Communication Manager of CAN EECCA