Ukraine tells UN climate summit it will use evidence of environmental crimes to sue Russia.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a large amount of warming gases to be released into the atmosphere, Ukraine has claimed at the UN COP27 climate summit in Egypt.
The amount is the equivalent of adding nearly 16 million cars to the UK’s roads for two years.
Ukraine said it is collecting evidence of environmental crimes with which to sue Russia.
It also claimed precious animal and plant life has been destroyed.
The war has led directly to emissions of 33 million tons of greenhouse gases that warm the Earth’s atmosphere, claimed Ruslan Strilets, Ukraine’s environmental protection minister.
“Russia has turned our natural reserves into a military base. Russia is doing everything to shorten our and your horizons. Because of the war, we will have to do even more to overcome the climate crisis,” he said.
The minister also said his delegation at the climate summit does not plan to meet Russian representatives in Egypt. “If we do accidentally, we won’t talk to them,” he said.
The figure was calculated by counting emissions including from forest fires and agricultural fires, as well as the oil burnt after attacks on storage depots.
Mr Strilets also claimed that rebuilding Ukraine will cause significantly more emissions, up to 49 millions tons of carbon dioxide.
Ukraine says that Russia must bear responsibility for these emissions.
Since the start of the war in February, the country claims to have gathered evidence of 2,000 “environmental crimes” costing 37 million euros, including destruction of forests, release of toxic gases, and damage to water facilities.
It plans to use the evidence to seek compensation from Russia for damage caused.
Asked if Ukraine has been able to assess environmental damage in recently liberated Kherson, Mr Strilets said it is too early for scientists to access all parts of the city.
The government also claims about 600 animals and 750 plants and fungi, including endangered species, are under threat.
Since February, it has documented 120 deaths of dolphins in the Black Sea, which it links to the war.
Nations are meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to agree on next steps in curbing climate change.
A key issue being negotiated is who pays for the irreversible damage caused by climate change in developing nations.
At the weekend, senior figures at the summit warned that the key goal of trying to limit the average rise in temperatures to 1.5C may be under threat.