Eoghan Darbyshire
May 2022

Environmental dimensions of the conflict in Ukraine

The destruction and human suffering following Russia's invasion of Ukraine has included significant environmental components.

This webinar provided an overview of findings from a civil-society database of environmental pollution incidents. It also looked at the curation methodology - searches of social media to isolate environmentally relevant incidents, then verifying, documenting, archiving and assessing environmental risk via crowd-sourced open-source intelligence. It was explained how such independent and verified databases can support further data collection missions from the UN Environment Programme, and remediation and legal activities by the Ukrainian Government. There was then an exploration of key incidents from the database, including those at industrial and infrastructural facilities, or ecologically sensitive habitats, assessing the environmental and health impacts.

A brief review of how 8 years of fighting has impacted the environment in Donbas helped illustrate possible longer-term impacts. Finally, there was a consideration of some of the more indirect and reverberating environmental impacts of conflict, both inside and outside Ukraine, and in particular, the climate connotations of this war.