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Greta Thunberg Decries 'Ecocide' In Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky and Greta Thunberg

The young climate activist met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the environmental impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Thursday, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the ongoing “ecocide” in Ukraine following Russia's invasion.

Thunberg joined European Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala, former Irish President Mary Robinson, and former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallström in a working group located in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, in an effort to address the environmental damage done during the war and find pathways to hold Russia accountable.

Thunberg stated that Russian troops have “deliberately” targeted the environment while attacking the homes, workplaces, and public facilities of Ukrainians.

"I do not think that the world reaction to this ecocide was enough," she said, according to a Ukrainian translation of her comments via Reuters. "We have to talk louder about it, we have to raise awareness about what is going on."

Ecocide is defined as destruction of the natural environment by deliberate or negligent human action.

President Zelensky previously spoke on the environmental impact of Russia's invasion globally, which caused a spike in energy prices. He also said it was directly responsible for “an acute food crisis” that has exacerbated the threats facing developing nations, who already experience “the existing manifestations of climate change, catastrophic drought, large-scale floods.”

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin stated in a tweet that the environment is the “silent victim” of Russia's war. He said about 30 percent of Ukraine’s landscape has been “contaminated” with explosives, and approximately 6 million acres of forest has been damaged or destroyed.

In his meeting with Thunberg and fellow world leaders, Zelensky thanked the group for their “extremely important signal of support.”

“We call for strengthening international efforts to investigate and prosecute Russia’s war crimes against the environment and to ensure that the aggressor pays for the enormous damage caused by these crimes,” he said.

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