Russia-Ukraine War is causing large releases of greenhouse gases into the air

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Grace Smith | November 15, 2022

The Russia-Ukraine War has released 33 million tons of greenhouse gases into the air, according to Ruslan Strilets, Ukraine’s environmental protection minister. The number of climate-warming gases that have been released is equivalent to adding 16 million cars to the UK’s roads for two years. 

“Russia is doing everything to shorten our and your horizons,” Strilets said at the United Nations COP27 Climate Summit on Nov. 14. “Because of the war, we will have to do even more to overcome the climate crisis.”

The number of emissions was calculated by counting all emissions including forest and agricultural fires and the oil burnt after attacks on storage depots. Strilets also said at the conference that 49 million more emissions are expected to be released into the air during the process of rebuilding Ukraine. As of Nov. 14, 2,200 environmental damage cases have been recorded. 

Strilets also said the war is harming animals immensely. According to BBC, 600 animals and 750 plants and fungi are under threat. Over 700 dolphins in the Black Sea have died since the war. Scientists said the dolphins are having trouble communicating with one another and struggling to find food and navigate. 

Along with impacts on the environment and animals, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February resulted in large food and gas shortages, causing surrounding countries to increase production to compensate.

Six months of Russia-Ukraine War takes toll on environment

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Grace Smith | August 26, 2022

About half a year ago, the Russia-Ukraine War started, which also formed a large environmental toll on Ukraine. Ukraine is one of Europe’s most industrial countries with coal mines, chemical plants, etc. The constant shelling over areas where these industries sit is harming nearby rivers and soil, jeopardizing its biodiversity. 

When Russian shelling exploded near certain Ukrainian industrial sites in July, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine reported that those shellings caused a fire to release toxic substances that could easily be carried by wind through a vast amount of land. 

In addition to shellings, over 5,000 Moscow military wrecks have occurred over the six months, which the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group (UNCG) said can continue to leak fuel after the wreck. “Russian tanks can carry between 500 and 1,600 litres of fuel,” UNGC told France 24, a news publication. “These contain lead and other heavy metals, polycyclic arenes found in all fossil fuels and a number of other volatile organic compounds.”

UNCG released a list of native plants, once preserved, that are now disappearing or threatened because of the passage of Russian vehicles on Ukrainian land. In addition, at least 37,867 fires caused by combat have covered over 247,000 acres of land, destroying 82,000 acres of protected land. 

Not only is Ukraine hurting from the war, but India is experiencing an increase in soybean and maize prices. As of March, corn pricing increased 25 percent as of January, challenging the ability to feed livestock like poultry.