Assessing the impact of conflict and military activities on protected areas in eastern Ukraine.
This article analyses the factors influencing the conservation status of protected areas in Ukraine caused by the unstable political situation in the country in the years 2014‐2016, including military action and occupation of the eastern part of Ukraine by Russian troops, and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and increasing military activity of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We show that these factors have caused acute adverse effects on protected areas. The eastern region of Ukraine, which contains the oldest protected areas in the country, and the Crimean Peninsula contain the most valuable and ancient nature reserves and national parks, interesting as reserves of rare species of flora and fauna, as well as objects of long‐term monitoring of changes in nature. This is where much of the protected area supports steppe ecosystems. We examine the negative impacts on all steppe protected areas in Ukraine caused by the physical impact of military operations or exercises, increasing intensity of spontaneous fires, pollution and other factors stemming from the unstable political situation in the country.