Reznikov: Occupied Donbas on verge of international environmental disaster
The actions of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions lead to radiation pollution of groundwater and large-scale environmental disaster. Ukraine has already asked the IAEA to send a group of experts to monitor the storage of radioactive materials in the temporarily occupied territories.
“As a result of Russia’s actions, the occupied part of Donbas is on the verge of international environmental disaster. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) identifies air, soil and water pollution due to explosions of large quantities of ammunition, flooding of industrial enterprises as the causes for the disaster,” Deputy Prime Minister – Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov said during a briefing for UN member states on February 20, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.
He also pointed out the threat of radiation pollution, recalling that in 1979, the Soviet authorities carried out a nuclear explosion of 0.3 kilotons of TNT equivalent at the Yunkom mine in the now occupied part of Donetsk region. After the explosion, the radioactive capsule was left dry and water was pumped out of the mine to prevent radiation from entering the surface and groundwater. Two years ago, the occupation administrations stopped pumping water, and now radioactive water is already entering the drinking water level, the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Ukraine appealed to the IAEA regarding the possibility of forming a group of experts to monitor the storage of radioactive materials in the temporarily occupied territories. By 2014, more than 1,000 sources of ionizing radiation were located there. But the question is whether the Russian occupation forces will let the experts in,” Reznikov said.
In addition, dozens of mines were closed, from which water needed to be pumped out, still operating facilities violate environmental regulations and no clean-up is taking place, the official noted.
Addressing the UN member states during a briefing, Reznikov stressed that the occupied Donbas became an artificial zone of environmental disaster with large-scale social consequences.
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