On April 12, EPL environmentalists together with local nature protection activists were able to visit the national natural park “Oleshkivski sands” located in the Kherson region. Today, visiting the national park is not a simple task. For several months it has been literally captured by units of the armed forces of Ukraine. We informed on this in our previous news: http://epl.org.ua/events/2277-u-natsionalnomu-pryrodnomu-parku-oleshkivski-pisky-vidbulysia-povnomasshtabni-viiskovi-navchannia
Nature protection activists managed to get to the national natural park, where routine excursions used to be conducted, only due to negligence of the military who left their posts. In general, the positions of Military Forces of Ukraine surround the national park from all sides.
For the first time this area received protected status in 1928, but by Stalin’s orders it lost the status and was given to the military. Later there were plans to declare the territory as a national park the territory of the whole old polygon, but as a result the central part of the polygon was included to the protected area. For this reason, neither visitors, nor administration can enter the park.
Instead of tourists the territory of the national park is actively entered by missiles. In the course of the “raid” activists found exploded ammunition, including anti-tank missile system “Fagot” and various debris of heavy ammunition, craters of tank and mortar shells. In addition, within the National Park we found fresh tracks of tracked vehicles and garbage in places of temporary stay of militaries: cigarettes packages and bottles.
Identified maneuvers tracks and shooting ranges are located outside the park. However, all targets are directed toward the national park and its territory, which is proved by evidence found during the “raid”.
Intentional damage to areas of natural reserve fund is punished under article 252 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” appealed to the Military Prosecutor’s Office demanding to bring to justice those guilty of intentional damage to the national natural park “Oleshkivski sands” as a result of military exercises held in its territory.