The common goal of Ukraine and its partners is to achieve a just and sustainable peace and to make the aggressor pay for all its crimes, including crimes against the environment. This was emphasised by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the International Environmental Forum “United for Nature. Agenda for Ukraine”.
The Head of Government noted that paragraph 8 of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula clearly underlined this. It is about assessing environmental damage, holding russia accountable, restoring and reconstructing the country.
“The ‘russia will pay’ principle is extremely important and fundamental for us. This principle is enshrined in our Environmental Declaration, a draft of which was presented at the United for Justice, United for Nature forum in October. In particular, the Declaration calls for the creation of an International Environmental Platform for Damage Assessment. And this clearly correlates with Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s initiative to create a Global Platform for Damage Assessment, which he announced at the 2022 Climate Conference,” said Denys Shmyhal.
The Prime Minister noted that the International Working Group on the Environmental Consequences of War was operating under the umbrella of the Peace Formula. It synchronises the world on the issue of environmental damage.
According to the Head of Government, Ukraine has also made significant progress in the dialogue with partners on the compensation from confiscated russian assets.
“We expect effective decisions from the European Union, the United States and other countries that will allow us to use russian funds to help Ukraine. This will be an important precedent on a global scale. Every aggressor will know that sooner or later it will pay for the damage it has caused,” Denys Shmyhal said.
In his speech, the Prime Minister noted that during the full-scale invasion, almost 3,600 russian crimes against the environment were recorded, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources. The enemy has caused 2.2 trillion UAH worth of damage. The constant shelling has produced more than 750,000 tonnes of destruction waste, contaminating 30 million hectares of territory.
In addition, according to the Ministry of Economy, hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of Ukrainian land are potentially contaminated by mines and shells.
“Last year we brought more than 200,000 hectares of agricultural land back into use. For comparison, this is more than two areas of our capital, Kyiv. And this year we aim to survey and clear more than 512,000 hectares. But the mine threat will be with us for many years to come,” the Head of Government noted.
Denys Shmyhal also said that the Government was continuing to deal with the consequences of the russians blowing up the Kakhovka HPP dam. Billions of hryvnias have been allocated and new water pipelines have been built.
At the same time, Ukraine is implementing environmental reforms. According to the Prime Minister, the Government completed the reform of subsoil use last year. In 2023, industry revenues from auctions reached a record high of more than UAH 2 billion.
Last year was also a record year for profits in the forestry sector due to the changes. They more than doubled to UAH 3 billion.
Denys Shmyhal emphasised that the plans for 2024 included the intensification of climate policy. Indeed, this is one of the prerequisites for rebuilding Ukraine according to green standards.