The Environmental Impacts of the Ukraine War

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has changed everything. More than 900 Ukrainian civilians and 1300 soldiers killed since the start of the invasion on 24 February.

War is toxic. Kyiv, 15 March.

At least 7,000 Russians have died – a greater death toll than that of American troops over twenty years in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

The conflict carries risks for the environment, too.

On 4 March, Europe held its breath after Russian forces shelled the continent’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, igniting a fire at a training building. In this instance, firefighters succeeded in extinguished the flames and catastrophe was averted.

But the conflict also threatens to unleash chemical hazards. On 21 March, another shelling caused an ammonia leak at a chemical factory near Novoselytsya, in the west of the country on the border with Romania. Residents scrambled to take shelter.

Join us, as we discuss the environmental dimensions of the conflict with Wim Zwijnenburg, a project leader for the Dutch peace organisation PAX.  A long-time analyst of the nexus between conflict and the environment in the Middle East, Zwijnenburg has been monitoring the environmental impacts of the conflict in Ukraine since 2014.

This episode was made by Natalie Sauer, Boris Schneider and Angelina Davydova and produced by The Podcast Coach.

Photograph courtesy of UNDP. Published under a Creative Commons license.