Since the outbreak of the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea the civil society has been raising concerns over environmental damage to the environment in those areas. On June 7 Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union presented a report “At the edge of survival: destroyed environment in the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine”. The report covers the impact of armed conflict on the environment of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, including uncontrolled territories, as well as internal legal mechanisms for protection of the environment and the opportunities to bring to justice those responsible for the environmental damage during armed conflict.
Environmental crisis in the East of Ukraine and ways to solve it is also discussed by the public authorities. On June 8 a meeting of informal MPs group “Minsk Platform” was held to develop strategy for peaceful settlement of the situation in the East of Ukraine. During the meeting, vice-minister of environment, V.Vakarash, emphasized the important for reconstruction and improvement of the state environmental monitoring system, as well as environmental safety system, in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. He also reported about preliminary measures taken to ensure environmental monitoring of the situation.
It’s obvious that a complex understanding of the state of environment in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, analysis and assessment of risks, as well as its rehabilitation, will require integrated and complex approaches covering (1) cooperation at national and international levels, (2) coordination among central, regional and local authorities, (3) complex of measures implementing such mechanism (including, environmental monitoring, legal responsibility of aggressor state and other persons liable for environmental damages). This also requires careful considerations of timeframes and resources (short-term necessary and feasible measures, and long-term measures).