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Ukrainian NGO estimates $4 billion in damage to forests caused by Russia

Ukraine has lost over 30,000 hectares of forest since Russia’s full-scale invasion, with woodlands mined, burned, and cut down by Russian occupiers.
Illustrative photo from open sources
Ukrainian NGO estimates $4 billion in damage to forests caused by Russia

The Ukrainian NGO “Forest Initiatives and Society” estimates the damage caused by Russians to Ukrainian forests over the past year at $4 billion, Media Center Ukraine-Lviv reported.

During a briefing at the Ukraine-Lviv Media Center, Dmytro Karabchuk, executive director of the NGO, said that the Russian occupiers are setting fires in Ukrainian forests, cutting down and mining forests in the occupied territories. They do this to cause large-scale damage to Ukrainian natural resources.

According to the analysis conducted by the NGO “Forest Initiatives and Society,” Russia destroyed 5,000 hectares of forests in the occupied territories in 2023. It reaches more than 12 thousand hectares of forest in the de-occupied territories.

In 2022, Ukraine lost almost 18,000 hectares of forest due to the Russian invasion. The most significant losses are in the forests of the east and south of the country. According to Dmytro Karabchuk, restoring forest plantations to pre-war levels could take more than half a century.

The NGO “Forest Initiatives and Society” analyzed the natural resources’ losses and monitored almost 14 million hectares of forests. As per the NGO’s head, this data is used as evidence of a war crime by the Russian aggressor to bring it to justice in international courts.

“We share our information with central authorities and law enforcement agencies. They opened about half a thousand criminal cases in 2023. Russians are using stolen wood both for the military needs of the occupiers and exported to the aggressor country,” said Dmytro Karabchuk.

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