• 24/06/2024 08:33

The Russians destroyed more than 60 thousand hectares of Ukrainian forests

The value of the lost forest exceeds UAH 14 billion.

The Russians destroyed more than 60 thousand hectares of Ukrainian forests

Illustrative photo

Russian occupiers not only massively cut down forests in the occupied territories, but also lose them. According to the State Forestry Agency, as a result of military operations, damage was caused to almost 30% of all forests in Ukraine.

This is stated in a study by NGL.media based on satellite images.

Analysis of the images shows that During the two years of the war, the Russians completely destroyed more than 60 thousand hectares of forests in the territories they occupied – mostly in places where there had been little forest before.

According to the minimum estimate, the total value of the value of lost forest exceeds UAH 14 billion– these are only direct losses, that is, the cost of timber that could have been obtained from these more than 60 thousand hectares. These losses do not take into account the environmental consequences, the elimination of which can be much more expensive.

According to the State Forestry Agency, as of February 2022, 97 Ukrainian foresters have gone missing, and another 116 have been confirmed dead.

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At the end of December last year, Russian propagandist Mikhail Andronik published video work of a military mobile sawmill complex on his telegram channel. NGL.media, with the help of experts from the NGO “Forest Initiatives and Society,” were able to identify the location of the deployment of the mobile sawmill – this is the territory of the Severonky Forestry and Hunting Estate. The similarity was also confirmed by the head of this forestry enterprise, Sergei Sezonenko. Judging by the archive of weather data, Andronik's video was filmed shortly before publication – approximately December 9-15, 2023.

The Russians apparently use part of the felled forest to build dugouts and other defensive fortifications. However, part of this wood is openly put up for sale by occupied forestry enterprises.

“Russia is one of the largest exporters of wood in the world. If Ukrainian wood from temporarily occupied territories ends up in them, then this compromises the entire market. Those who buy Russians now cannot be sure that they have not purchased timber of illegal origin,” comments Dmitry Karabchuk, founder and executive director of the NGO “Forest Initiatives and Society,” coordinator of the project “Combating Illegal Logging in Ukraine.”

< p>Until 2022, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Finland and Germany bought the most Russian wood. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, EU countries effectively banned the import of Russian timber, which led to a drop in all Russian exports by 35%. The Russians themselves, as expected, explained this drop by “an internal decision that has nothing to do with EU actions.” Now the main buyers are Türkiye, the UAE, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, South Korea and China.

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