Tuesday, July 4, 2023

'Environmental Destruction Is a Form of Warfare': Thunberg Joins Ecocide Investigation in Ukraine


  We are forming an Eve Tetaz affinity group to take action in D.C. in September.  Mother Earth is in trouble the kind we have never seen before. Climate chaos is with us, and we need to take action. If interested in joining us, let me know.  Kagiso, Max


Ukraine ecocide working group.

Swedish eco-activist Greta Thunberg (L), Vice President of European Parliament Heidi Gautala (2nd L), former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallstrom (C), Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak (2nd R) and former Irish President Mary Robinson (R) attend a press conference after the first meeting of the International Working Group on Environmental Consequences of Military Actions held in Kyiv, Ukraine on June 29, 2023. (Photo: Vladimir Shtanko/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

'Environmental Destruction Is a Form of Warfare': Thunberg Joins Ecocide Investigation in Ukraine

Thunberg said Russian forces "are deliberately targeting the environment and people's livelihoods and homes."


Jun 30, 2023


Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg condemned the "ecocide" wrought by Russia's invasion of Ukraine as she visited Kyiv Thursday.

Thunberg was there to meet with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as part of a newly formed working group with other European leaders to assess and remedy the ecological destruction caused by the war.

"Ecocide and environmental destruction is a form of warfare… as Ukrainians by this point know all too well—and so does Russia," Thunberg said at a press conference reported by The Journal.

"I do not think that the world reaction to this ecocide was enough."

Thunberg added that Russian forces "are deliberately targeting the environment and people's livelihoods and homes. And therefore also destroying lives. Because this is after all a matter of people," according to The Associated Press.

The goal of the working group is to investigate the extent of ecological damage in Ukraine, determine ways of holding Russia to account, and start to repair the damage. In addition to Thunberg, members include former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallström, European Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala, and former Irish President Mary Robinson.

"The environment should no longer be the silent victim of war," Ukraine's prosecutor general Andriy Kostin tweeted Thursday on the occasion of the meeting.

Kostin said that the war had seeded around 30% of Ukraine's land area with explosives and damaged more than 2.4 million hectares of forest.

"The blowing up of the Kakhovka Dam caused the most significant environmental disaster in Ukraine since Chernobyl," he added.

The June 6 dam collapse flooded large swaths of territory in southern Ukraine and the Russian-occupied region of Kherson, Reuters reported. The collapse killed dozens, forced around 2,200 people from their homes in Ukrainian-controlled territory, spilled hundreds of tons of engine oil into the Dnipro River, and threatened drinking water supplies, according to The Journal and Doctors of the World. The incident initially severely affected around 17,000 people and could impact more than 42,000. Both Russia and Ukraine have blamed the other for the collapse, Reuters reported.

Thunberg also criticized the international community for their response.

"I do not think that the world reaction to this ecocide was enough," she said. "We have to talk louder about it, we have to raise awareness about what is going on."

Kostin said that Ukraine was the first country to prosecute environmental war crimes and ecocide "on a massive scale."

Ukraine is investigating more than 200 war crimes against the environment and 15 incidents of ecocide, he said.

"We call for strengthening international efforts to investigate and prosecute Russia's war crimes against the environment and to ensure that the aggressor pays for the enormous damage caused by these crimes," he tweeted.

Zelensky said the working group was "a very important signal of supporting Ukraine," The Journal reported. "It's really important, we need your professional help."

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Olivia Rosane is a staff writer for Common Dreams

 Donations can be sent to Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Apt. 206, Baltimore, MD 21212.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs



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