Russia may cause 'environmental disaster' in Ukraine: Poroshenko

2015-11-30 21:31
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during a televised address to the nation. (Mykola Lazarenko, AFP)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during a televised address to the nation. (Mykola Lazarenko, AFP)

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Le Bourget - Russia risks causing an "environmental disaster" in eastern Ukraine with its support for rebel forces, President Petro Poroshenko told a UN climate conference in Paris on Monday.

"My country has become a victim of hybrid warfare, which has hybrid effects. One of them is a risk of environmental disaster in the eastern part of Ukraine, Donbass," Poroshenko told delegates.

He paid tribute to the "courage and unbroken spirit" of the French in the wake of this month's attack by the Islamic State group that left 130 dead in Paris.

But he said this was "a daily reality for Ukraine for almost 21 months".

"We have been suffering from the terrorism sponsored and promoted by the Russian Federation," he said.

Poroshenko accused pro-Russian forces in the eastern Donbass region of having "flooded many mines", leading to the poisoning of drinking water and the soil.

Russia denies directly supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, and Poroshenko's speech underlined the challenge of reaching a unanimous global agreement on climate change over the next fortnight when many of the participants are involved in bitter conflicts with each other.

Poroshenko added that the ground and atmosphere "have been heavily polluted" by the use of shells and artillery in the on-going conflict, which has claimed more than 8 000 lives since it broke out in early 2014.

Ukraine has vowed to keep its carbon emissions below 60% of 1990 levels in the lead-up to the climate talks and said it would go even further if peace was restored to the east of the country.

Money for reconstruction in Donbass would be "an investment in combating climate change," he said.

Read more on:    petro poroshenko  |  ukraine  |  environment  |  cop21

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