Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has changed everything.
At the time of writing, there have been more than 900 Ukrainian civilians and 1300 soldiers killed since the start of the invasion on 24 February. At least 7,000 Russian have died - a greater death toll than that of American troops over 20 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 is made by:
•Natalie Sauer, a French British environmental journalist and MA student in Russian and Post-Soviet Politics at the School of Eastern European and Slavonic Studies, University College London. A former reporter for Climate Home News, her words have also appeared in international media such as Le Monde Diplomatique, Politico Europe, Open Democracy, Euractiv and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
•Boris Schneider, a climate and environment lead at n-ost, a Berlin-based network for cross-border reporting. Boris heads initiatives to boost climate journalism in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.
•Angelina Davydova, an environmental journalist from Russia. Angelina has been writing about climate change in the region for Russian and international media and attending UN climate summits since 2008. She also teaches environmental journalism and environmental and climate policy and communication in a number of universities and regularly organises training for journalists from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Caucasus on environmental and climate reporting.