Kyiv collecting information on chemical emissions in occupied Crimea for appeal to OPCW
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry will send an appeal to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) regarding chemical contamination in Russian-occupied Crimea as soon as all materials and evidence are collected.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mariana Betsa told TV Channel 5 said that a respective document would be sent as soon as the results of examinations on the real state of chemical pollution in occupied Crimea are obtained.
In particular, she noted that the responsibility for the situation with the Crimean Titan plant lies entirely with the Russian Federation.
"We need a complete set of documents for the transfer to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We are collecting all the information, all materials, all the evidence from all those involved, competent authorities. We need an expert evaluation of our departments, and as soon as we receive them - I think this will happen in the near future - we will immediately transfer this to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," Betsa said.
As reported, residents of Armiansk in Russian-occupied Crimea have been posting their mass complaints on the social networks about the rust-colored ash, which has covered some parts of cars, fences, gas dispensers, keys, kitchen utensils and metallic items since August 24. Meanwhile, leaves are turning yellow and are falling from trees ahead of time. Several city residents are saying that their children have a skin rash and nausea, are coughing and have a sore throat.
The Russia-installed authorities of Crimea on September 4 announced that the level of sulfur dioxide in the air had exceeded the norms and the plant was closed down for two weeks. Children with mothers have been evacuated to Crimean resorts for two weeks.
From September 6, checkpoints Kalanchak and Chaplynka (Kherson region, on the administrative border with the occupied Crimea) temporarily ceased their work in connection with the ecological situation with the Crimean plant. The Chonhar checkpoint is working in the regular mode.
On September 4, Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin said Crimea was facing an environmental disaster.
Representative of the Ukrainian Ombudswoman for human rights of residents of Crimea and Sevastopol Ismail Khalikov informed on Facebook that reports appeared on September 4 about excess levels of sulfur dioxide in the air.
According to him, this information was sent to international organizations of the United Nations, the OSCE, the World Health Organization and the Red Cross "with a view to document the facts of human rights violations," as well as the Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (based in Kyiv) to initiate criminal proceedings against persons involved in the violation of the environmental rights of citizens in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the threat to their lives.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry Spokesman Dmytro Hutsuliak said Ukrainian intelligence had learned the chemical leak in the north of Russia-occupied Crimea was a result of an artillery strike during training drills that hit chemical reservoirs.