On April 12, in the city of Kherson there was held a press conference devoted to the arbitrary activities-of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the territory of the nature reserve fund of Kherson region. The event brought together employees of institutions of the nature reserves and nature protection activists.
All biosphere reserves and national parks of the region (except for the newly created national park “Nyzhniodniprovskiy”) are suffering from arbitrary activities not compatible with the regime of protected areas performed by units of the Armed Forces.
Thus, in fact the national natural park “Oleshkivski sands” for several months has been captured by the military and its territory is used for military exercising using heavy arms (at the press conference there were shown the remains of ammunition collected by EPL environmentalists in the national natural park); staff of the national park have no access to its territory. However, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine currently has no legal rights to use not only the land of the national park but also the polygon.
The national natural park “Azov-Sivash” is also left without actual protection because unidentified units of Armed Forces conduct here unauthorized training using Chasseurs borders as targets.
Moreover, through the territory of the Biosphere Reserve “Askania Nova” passed columns of unidentified military units, and in addition, military helicopters flew directly above animals habitats in the reserve.
Also we received information that military troops entered the territory of the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve. Moreover, the Ministry of Defense is putting pressure on management of the reserve to accommodate missile systems on its territory.
These and other facts of reckless unauthorized activities of units of the Armed Forces with all the evidence were made public at the press conference. EPL volunteers made video recording of the press-conference.
John MOYSIYENKO, Kherson National University
Olha Lozhkina, National Park “Oleshkivski Sands”
Oleksiy Vasilyuk, environmentalist of International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law”
Olha Umanets, Black Sea Biosphere Reserve
Victor Havrylenko, Director of the Biosphere Reserve “Askania Nova”
Alexander Khodosovtsev, Kherson National University
Participants of the press-conference consider unacceptable continued stay of the Armed Forces units on the territory of natural reserve objects located on the territory controlled by Ukraine. Given the lack of any coordination, as well as significant damage caused to the protected areas, we see it as important for the Military prosecutors office to file suits to demand compensation for damages caused to the state by intentional damage to protected areas. Also, participants of the press conference stated that in addition to the reclamation of damaged areas it would be a good gesture on behalf of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine to grant approval for the creation of national parks on lands of the Ministry of Defense: national natural park “Samara forest”, “Divychky”, “Shyrokolanskyy” etc.