Climate activist Greta Thunberg met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this week in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. The meeting was for the International Working Group on the Environmental Consequences of War. Thunberg was joined by co-chair Andriy Yermak, European Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala, and Ukrainian environmental activists.

“Ecocide, the destruction of the environment, is a form of warfare,” Thunberg stated during the meeting, highlighting Russia’s intentional targeting of the environment and people’s livelihoods.

Zelenskyy addressed Russia’s suspected attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, which displaced hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and disrupted power supplies. He emphasized the group’s focus on developing recommendations to hold Russia accountable for environmental crimes and restore the environment.

Thunberg expressed the need to assess the environmental damage in Ukraine and collect assessments from authorities and environmental organizations. She stressed the importance of holding Russia accountable and allowing affected individuals to recover.

Greta Thunberg at a press conference

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a press conference on Thursday in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Vitalii Nosach/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

Yermak announced that the working group will also draft a Ukraine Environmental Treaty to protect the environment.

The activists called for the consideration of ecocide as a crime, environmental reparations from Russia, and swift government responses to eco crimes. Hautala emphasized the need to hold Russia accountable and stressed the importance of accountability for environmental destruction during conflicts.

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