George Eliason: Ukraine’s Ecocide in Donbass, 1991 to post-Maidan 2019


HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.

On February 26, 2019, Lugansk People’s Republic hosted a roundtable entitled “Ecocide of Ukraine: Consequences.” This provided a forum for environmental experts from Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) and DNR to formally start addressing the environmentally catastrophic situation both republics inherited from the post-Soviet Ukrainian government.

Both fledgling republics have already started addressing the vast environmental problems outlined below. Even in the middle of a war, the situation demands remedies Kiev never considered providing.

We did initial interviews for what will be an ongoing series with the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecological Safety of Lugansk Peoples Republic Uri Degtyaryov and Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Soroka on the effect of the civil war on the ecology of Donbass.

When the facts are looked at, no matter how bleak the picture, the government under Leonid Pasichnik is making strides with clean up from installing pollution scrubbers at factories to cleaning up old garbage dumps. Because of the importance of these issues, we’ll follow up on the progress at regular intervals.

Minister of Natural Resources and Ecological Safety of Lugansk Peoples Republic Uri Degtyaryov-

https://youtu.be/wAYL7a2XpJk


“You have to understand that life goes on and a new republic is being built; Lugansk People’s Republic. With everyday problems and challenges for a government that never existed before there are international laws and rules our government still has to adhere to.

For ecology, this includes international conventions accepted by the civilized world. Our republic is not recognized by the world, but we are trying to live according to international standards. That is why this is the right direction to go in and the policy documents show we voluntarily follow international conventions although we are still not recognized the international community.

Without being recognized, we recognize international rules and standards. So those documents (LNR environmental policy) are prepared being prepared according to international standards.

When we talk about other steps, we have prepared for the next challenges. It is what was discussed at the round table today. For us, the most difficult challenge that we talked about at the round table is that we haven’t given a full assessment of the damage caused by military action by the Ukrainian army.

We have to count every crater, every damaged tree, and every destroyed dam. This all has to be translated into monetary values. Unfortunately, we came from a peaceful era. We are ill-equipped for this type of assessment. We lack the methodology needed.

Right now that work is being done. For instance, one small natural object (Ostria Magila) that was a protected area (conservation area) by law which is 49 hectares (121 acres) was damaged by Grad rockets and Hurricane rockets from the Ukrainian army. Thirty-eight enormous craters destroyed the trees and just in damages to the trees, three and one half (3 ½) million rubles of damage was done.

And this was a small area. Can you imagine the costs for the damage to the rest of the republic? We are assessing the damage.

The second stage to what we are doing is to remediate the damage that has been done so far. We have 3.4 thousand hectares of wooded area that is destroyed by military action; it’s a proud moment to say we are replacing it. It takes years for trees to grow. It’s one thing to plant them. You have to take care of them. They have to be pruned and cared for.

And so now we say with pride, the first seedlings have grown and the crowns have formed. They are replacing wooded areas that were destroyed. We have replanted 270 hectares of wooded area that was destroyed by the military action.

Every year we plant seedlings and we still have to purchase more. And of course, we deal with other everyday problems. Before the war, there was no recycling of trash in Lugansk Oblast. Right now, we are recycling 82 types of trash.

Before the war, we didn’t have the replacement fish to replenish supplies. Now we have 12 fish farms that produce replacement fish.

So, in short, we need peace and everything else we’ll do ourselves.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Soroka concludes Ukraine’s use of banned munitions is war crimes and ecocide.



LNR Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Soroka


https://youtu.be/IhxVES8DuSk

“Ecocide according to international law is considered a most dangerous crime against humanity. There are several directions in this law, the first one is; Ecocide is considered to be one of the most dangerous breaches because it affects a wide group of people over a long period of time. We know the results of ecocide can last not only decades but the effects can go on for hundreds of years and cause enormous and unfixable effects on the health of people. We conclude/assert that ecocide is a crime against humanity. The second direction of the law is that it falls under war crimes. Following the orders of the Ukrainian government, the Ukrainian army uses prohibited chemical weapons like white phosphorus and napalm. We see nature is suffering irreparable damage and this is a war crime. For us it is very important to collect evidence and material of all the crimes of Ukraine. At this time, in order to fully protect ourselves, we put a plea into different international organizations, for instance at the (ICC) International Criminal Court. According to the Minsk platform, many times we addressed this problem, not just here in Donbass and the front line territory, but also in Ukraine. As it turns out, in the middle of Europe, there is a hotbed of ecological catastrophe that can spread and in the future affect the rest of the world.”


Since the heyday of the Soviet Union, the Donbass region provided most of the industrial production in Ukraine and the most environmentally hazardous industries. Of consequence, the Lugansk region also produces the highest agricultural output in Ukraine.

The combined stress of industrial and agricultural production along with transport infrastructure and high population density creates the largest manmade per capita load on the biosphere in Ukraine or even Europe as a whole.

From 1991 onward, the situation presented itself for Western Ukrainian oriented politicians to take revenge on areas that traditionally rejected Ukrainian nationalism and Banderism. Donbass regard the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) as war criminals. The UPA and OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) was a political group allied with Nazi Germany.

They were based in Poland and obsessed with establishing a country of their own. The OUN and UPA tortured and murdered civilians across what would become Soviet Ukraine before, during, and after WWII.

From the 1991 referendum that separated Ukraine and dissolved the Soviet Union, the children, grandchildren, and Diaspora relatives of the OUN and UPA actively sought to punish the regions that did not support a united Ukraine allied with WWII Germany.

Ukraine has a notoriously bad environmental record and most of the environmentally hazardous businesses are located in the Lugansk area. There are roughly 1500 businesses in the coal, metallurgical, machine building, chemical, and oil industries. Annually about 700,000 tons of pollutants have been released into the atmosphere and more than ¾ are not cleaned at all.

All of this activity went unchecked from 1991 onward. Corrupt pro-West Ukraine politicians took over the government when the Soviet Union collapsed and the environmental condition across Ukraine deteriorated.

According to a 2005 abstract, the quality of the water was five times worse than the air quality and the destruction of the environment has gone on unabated for an additional 13 years since it was written. Toxic emissions from the mines and garbage disposal as well as streams and tributaries disappearing because of silting have destroyed much of the water resources.

According to the abstract Ecological crisis of Donbass as an industrial region of Ukrainethe Lugansk region has the lowest life expectancy in Ukraine because of these factors.

According to the report, 85% of children born in the Lugansk Region are born with various cardiopulmonary pathologies and abnormalities due to the described environmental factors. Decades ago Lugansk should have been recognized as an ecological disaster zone.

It’s been more than 2 decades since the situation in Lugansk and across Donbass was recognized.  If Ukraine was serious about expressing governmental oversight in the region, making sure the children weren’t being poisoned would have been the best place to start.

This was well known even before the presidency of Victor Yushchenko. Yushchenko became famous as the Ukrainian nationalist president who tried to rehabilitate the image of Stepan Bandera, one of Ukraine’s WWII OUN Nazi leaders. Bandera’s OUN is famous in the Lugansk Donbass region for torturing and murdering civilians.

Instead of making even a token effort at environmental policy and remediation, Ukraine’s government even allowed the Soviet built infrastructure to degrade to the point where coal mines closures were done illegally, disregarding safety procedures and flooding adjacent areas with toxins and undermining residential structures.

Before the war started in post-Maidan Ukraine, 150 coal mines needed constant pumping and drainage.

The Ukraine Army (VSU) has targeted power stations and transmission lines to exasperate the situation. As a result, electric service interruptions occurred for mines in the Komsomolets Donbassa, Lidiivka, Vuglegirska, Chervonyi Proflintern, Bulavinskaya, Olkhovatska, Trudovskaya, Chelyuskintsev, the Sukhodolskaya-Vostochnaya, Privolnyanska, Nikanor-Nova, Kyivska, Dovzhanska- Capitalna, Centrospilka, Kharkivska, Chervonyi Partizan, Samsonivska-Zakhidna, Pershotravneva, Proletarska, Bilorechenska, Frunze, Vakhrusheva, Cosmonavtiv, Dzerzhinskyi, Sverdlov and others.

Damage and disconnection of coal-mining enterprises from electric services led to the shutdown of mine water drainage systems. This, in turn, led to full flooding of the mines and further poisoning of the region’s water supply.

Ecocide is the premeditated destruction of an area’s environment to destroy its people or the possibility of inhabiting or living there. Long before the war which now complicates current remediation efforts, a passive depopulation effort in Donbass was underway.

This is why the Ukrainian government environmental effort in Donbass is being referred to as ECOCIDE.


ADDENDUM
In the video below, GH Eliason documents how the people of Lugansk are trying to take the necessary steps to establish a democracy in their young republic, as a civil war triggered by the West rages on their doorsteps.

GH Eliason
First uploaded on 15 Nov 2018

This is the first video coverage we’ve done. This is an introduction to LNR and shows how the election went on locally. In upcoming videos we’ll show the reasons why this was necessary and interview the foreign minister as well as some of the international observers.

2018 Elections in Lugansk People’s Republic

A few months ago a couple of officials from Lugansk People’s Republic broached the idea of my joining the International Election Observer team in LNR. It wasn’t because they consider me an unfriendly voice, but quite the contrary.

I live in LNR and want the country to have a chance to develop. That can only happen if the democratic process here works. It has to work better than in the US, which may not say much these days, but this brand new country was only born a few years ago. It’s still in the process of determining its civil law and foreign law.

LNR is in a civil war and the country fighting it is determined to tie its hands by taking away people’s right to representation. Ukraine is also murdering elected government officials when it has the opportunity.

Today, Ukraine and its little fat Nazi Dimka Yarosh are huffing about how fast they can retake the Donbass militarily.

If the elections in Donbass were illegal, why can’t Ukraine show that? Why won’t they even try the legal remedy they agreed to in Minsk I and Minsk II agreements?

Instead, Ukraine frightened some of the voters into staying home by threatening to hack the voter registration systems. Ukraine’s version of democracy is to destroy the lives of people they consider enemies who may never lift a hand against Ukraine.

A Ukrainian Diaspora spy handles Ukraine’s monsters and passes along their orders. Pravy Sektor’s Yarosh would lose too much money and possibly his freedom to not do what they said.

The voter turnout in LNR was 77%. DNR had an 80% turnout and if these figures don’t make you jealous, you clearly have no concept of democracy. The USA hasn’t even been in the same ballpark for voter turnout since 1900. That last time was 73%.

Ukraine may have driven the numbers up a little with their threats. It wasn’t because the people got scared. Ukraine’s threats made them angry. Angry enough that the front line towns had close to 100% voter participation despite being on the frontlines of an active war.

The truth is, this election was going to make or break LDNR. If voter turnout wasn’t there, the world would have taken it as people voted with their feet. But what happens now?

Over the next few articles we’re going to explore that. I had a chance to interview the foreign minister of LNR and some of the international election observers.

We are starting to work with customized video for Washingtonsblog and will be showcasing reports here from LNR.

This first video should give an idea of what’s going on in LNR right now, where we are going, and that some great reporting is coming up.

The audio isn’t great. We need to purchase a little equipment as we go but we have a great start.
Let me know your thoughts.

https://youtu.be/O02KupdyUMs


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  GH ELIASON lives in Ukraine. He writes content and optimizes web-based businesses across the globe: His expertise is: organic search results, technical issues, design strategies to grow their business, and web security. He  used to be a large project construction specialist. When Fukushima happened his experience as both a locked high rad specialist and a penchant for climbing coincided. He was paid to climb a reactor at a sister plant to Fukushima 3 because of a 1 million dollar mistake. His work since then has largely been in project safety. He also runs soil and building support analyses for very large construction projects.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Things to ponder

While our media prostitutes, many Hollywood celebs, and politicians and opinion shapers make so much noise about the still to be demonstrated damage done by the Russkies to our nonexistent democracy, this is what the sanctimonious US government has done overseas just since the close of World War 2. And this is what we know about. Many other misdeeds are yet to be revealed or documented.

Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found

In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all. Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report

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