Environmental war crimes is a new direction for Truth Hounds

  26-07-2018

Whatever the goals a war has, it should not harm the civilians and protected objects. And it should not harm environment either. No crime against nature caused by the war in eastern Ukraine should go unpunished. For this reason Truth Hounds and NED have started pilot project on documenting environmental war crimes.

During the first field mission Truth Hounds

  • figured out how dangerous are phenol plant’s sludge depositories near Toretsk town after being shelled;
  • forged links with local authorities in Novgorodsk where the phenol plant is located.;
  • extend contacts network with nature conservation organizations authorities, NGOs, ecologic activists and experts;
  • visited Avdeyevka Coke Plant and documented damage caused by military actions;
  • documented firing points remnants, broken Red List trees, shell craters and other damage in the National Reserve “Kreidova flora” (ukr. Cretaceous Flora), where any human intervention is prohibited;
  • get the larger picture of war impact to environment;
  • visited New York*;
  • and the top of that collected gigabytes of valuable data for the International Criminal Court and for planning of future field missions
    .

*New York is an urban-type settlement in Donetsk Oblast of eastern Ukraine at 38 km from Donetsk and 10 km from Toretsk. Was renamed to Novhorodske in 1951. In 2016 a draft bill was submitted to return the settlement its historical name of New York

The protective dam of the phenol sludge storage is under risk of damage by artillery shells from occupied Horlivka nearby.

 

Artificial sand and clay dunes isolate phenol sludge storage and the surrounding nature

 

Sludge is phenol production waste. It is oily liquid with a specific aroma. Should the protective dam be damaged, the contents of the sludge lake will be in the Kryvyi Torets river, killing fish and plants. After it will go down to the Sea of Azov

 

NGO “Твоє нове місто” (ukr. Your new town) in Toretsk

 

Volodymyr Ielets is a local environment activist and head of NGO “Твоє нове місто” (ukr. Your new town)

 

The National Reserve “Kreidova flora” (ukr. Cretaceous Flora) is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna. It was heavily damaged during first year of the war.

 

To record all ecological war crimes our team covered many kilometers every day.

 

Electricity transmission line was damaged by artillery shells. Every time it results in water supply disruptions and sanitary risks for civilians

 

Due to the hunting ban since the beginning of the war the wildlife is restored

 

Local authorities parlor in Novhorodske settlement (a.k.a. New York)

 

The war has no power over the beauty of the famous roses of the Donetsk region

 

Documentation of residential buildings destruction is still key objective of Truth Hounds