Fighting in eastern Ukraine, one of Europe’s most industrialized regions, risks environmental calamity, writes Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz
Ukraine suffered one of the most horrendous man-made disasters in recent memory — the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986. It is now suffering through a war that is poisoning relations between Donbas and the rest of Ukraine, polluting the political climate between Kiev and Moscow and tainting the relationship between Russia and countries around the world. The conflict also has the potential to create pollution of a very real kind — as continued fighting threatens chlorine storage facilities, chemical plants, metallurgical factories, hazardous waste storage sites, and coal mines. The situation is a ticking time bomb. Because the divided communities are geographically very close, an incident on one side of the line of contact will have an impact on people living on the other side — and beyond.