From chemical leaks to rampant wildfires, these are the unseen costs of Russia’s invasion.
In late May, a large plume of pink smoke erupted from a chemical plant and rose above apartment buildings in Ukraine’s eastern city of Severodonetsk. The smoke was toxic — it came from a tank of nitric acid that was struck by Russian military forces.
“Do not come out of shelters!” the region’s governor, Sergiy Gaiday, said on Telegram, following the attack. “Nitric acid is dangerous if inhaled, swallowed, and in contact with skin.”
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, exploding chemical plants have become a frightening reality for its citizens, but they’re just one example of the staggering toll that war is taking on the nation’s environment. Rockets are polluting the soil and groundwater; fires threaten to expel radioactive particles; and warships have reportedly killed dolphins in the Black Sea.