Russian troops destroyed more than 60 thousand hectares of Ukrainian forests: analysts calculate losses shutterstock

Russian troops destroyed more than 60 thousand hectares of Ukrainian forests: analysts calculate losses

Elizaveta Volkotrub

The amount of losses amounted to UAH 14 billion

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Russian occupiers have destroyed more than 60 thousand hectares of forest in the occupied territories, with a cost of at least UAH 14 billion.

This is reported by NGL.media.

Analysts note that the amount of UAH 14 billion is only the cost of wood that could be obtained from 60 thousand hectares of forests. The analysis does not take into account the environmental consequences, the elimination of which can be more expensive.

According to journalists, in the Luhansk region, where only 11% of the territory was covered by forests before the war, Russians are actively deforesting. The forests in the steppe region of Luhansk fulfill an important function, as they protect against sandstorms, retain moisture, and prevent soil erosion.

In Donetsk region, 80% of the unique ecosystem of the Holy Mountains National Nature Park was destroyed. In Kharkiv region, almost 40-45% of forests were mined or damaged by fires.

During the occupation of Kherson region, which is one of the least forested regions of Ukraine, a significant part of the forests suffered from fires, shelling and deforestation. The Russian military actively cut down forests in the Oleshky district to create defensive positions.

Also, the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve and the "Askania Nova", "Meotida", "Azov-Syvaskyi" and "Dzharylgatskyi" reserves, on the territories of which hostilities took place, suffered significant damage.

In addition, the forests were seriously damaged as a result of the explosion of the Kakhovskaya HPP in June 2023. At that time, almost 55 thousand hectares of forest on the left bank of the Dnieper were flooded.

Analysts believe that part of the trees from the occupied territories were put up for sale.

"Russia is one of the largest exporters of wood in the world. If Ukrainian wood from the temporarily occupied territories reaches them, it compromises the entire market. Those who buy from the Russians now cannot be sure that they did not purchase wood of illegal origin," explains Dmytro Karabchuk, founder and executive director of the NGO "Forest Initiatives and Society", coordinator of the project "Fighting Illegal Logging in Ukraine".

As EcoPolitic previously reported, the Russian occupiers on captured Ukrainian territories in addition to grain, they also stole wood, cutting down forests.
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