Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak met with representatives of civil society organizations focused on ecology and environmental protection. The participants discussed the issue of holding Russia accountable for environmental crimes committed during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the damage caused to the ecosystem and human health.
Andriy Yermak emphasized that environmental protection is one of the ten points of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Peace Formula.
According to the Head of the President's Office, the world does not fully realize the scale of the threat to Ukraine's ecosystem, as well as the risks to other countries posed by Russia's invasion. That is why this issue should be discussed at all international platforms.
"The damage that has already been done to the Ukrainian ecosystem amounts to billions of dollars. This should become part of the reparations we will demand from Russia," said Andriy Yermak.
He expressed belief that the environmental factor should play an important role in shaping the pro-Ukrainian position of certain countries that have so far remained neutral on the issue of the war in Ukraine.
Oleksandr Todorchuk, coordinator of the #StopEcocideUkraine initiative, noted that Russia is deliberately destroying the environment in our country, and this problem needs to be actively discussed at the international level. According to him, the #StopEcocideUkraine initiative has held a number of events in different countries to draw attention to the Russian ecocide in Ukraine. In addition, a draft appeal of the Verkhovna Rada to international institutions to condemn Russia's environmental crimes has been developed.
Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, who also joined the meeting, informed the participants about the damage that Russia has caused to the environment in Ukraine. He emphasized the importance of integrating the concept of ecosystem services - the benefits that citizens can receive from the ecosystem - into Ukrainian legislation.
Tetyana Tymochko, head of the All-Ukrainian Environmental League, supported the idea of developing a mechanism for calculating compensation for environmental damage in Ukraine.
Advisor to the Prosecutor General Maksym Popov noted that the Prosecutor General's Office has provided procedural guidance for 104 criminal proceedings related to environmental damage caused by the aggressor. According to him, there is ongoing work with international organizations in this area.
Andriy Yermak proposed to hold a conference in Kyiv with the participation of representatives of Ukrainian and international environmental organizations and present the concept of compensation for environmental damage.
In addition, the Head of the President's Office called on civil society activists to become more actively involved in communicating with other countries about the environmental disaster caused by the Russian aggressor in our country in order to raise the issue globally: "Our goal is to ensure that Ukraine's voice in the context of environmental issues is strengthened both among our partners and among countries that are not yet sufficiently focused on this topic."