The amount of environmental damage recorded to date, caused as a result of the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, exceeds UAH 200 billion, said Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ruslan Strilets.
"We are constantly collecting information. All those cases that are recorded are added daily to the Ecozagroza (Ecological threat) mobile application, which everyone can join. To date, this figure has already exceeded UAH 200 billion. And we continue recording these losses," he told reporters at the Chornobyl NPP site when visiting the exclusion zone on Thursday.
At the same time, he noted that not all environmental losses can be estimated in money.
"There are ecosystems that, perhaps, will never recover or it will take hundreds of years. If we are talking about a burnt tree that has been growing for 50-100 years, or burned hectares of valuable territories. And no funds will restore them," the minister explained.
As for the Chornobyl NPP itself and the exclusion zone, then, according to him, the total amount of damage caused by the Russian invaders during the occupation has already reached UAH 2 billion.
However, the minister expressed conviction that this amount will be significantly higher after the final work to identify the facts of damage.
"The work is still ongoing. I am sure that in the near future the final amount will be calculated in order to put it in the general basket of damages and declare them in order to compensate," he stressed, noting that an appropriate compensation mechanism will be found at the international level.
"Today we have a victory, because the whole world understands that this was an act of nuclear terrorism. There is no analogous fact in the world. The international community will find together with us the right mechanisms to bring the occupier to justice and not only to condemn, but also to compensate for the damage," the minister stressed.
He also stressed that Russia should, among other things, compensate for the moral damage to the Chornobyl nuclear power plant workers – "to keep more than 30 days without rotation, this is an injury for which Russia must pay the appropriate price."
As reported, the Chornobyl nuclear power plant was occupied from the first day of the war until the end of March. During this time, the occupiers, in particular, robbed and destroyed buildings located in the zone, plundered a modern radiation laboratory worth EUR 6 million. In addition, during the occupation, it was impossible to rotate personnel who actually remained hostages of the Russian military.