13.09.18 11:24

Man-made disaster in Crimea caused by occupation authorities taking up artesian water, Ukraine's minister says

Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories Yurii Hrymchak believes it would take years to deal with consequences of man-made disasters after Ukraine regains controll over Russian-occupied Crimea.

When the Crimea returns under Ukraine's control, it will take years to wash away salt and revive everything that is now dying out, the official said in an interview with UNIAN, Censor.NET reports.

"The lack of water and wrong moves on the part of occupation authorities to taking up artesian water leads to soil salinization and man-made disasters, and that's what happened. The steppe part of Crimea has practically become waterless. As for the affected Crimean territories, we don't have access to them yet, so we can't assess the damage," Hrymchak said.

According to the deputy minister, the restoration of Crimea will take many years.

"In 1954, when the peninsula became part of Ukraine, it was a semi-desert, salt marshes everywhere, with nothing growing there. After the construction of the North Crimean Canal, the water started flowing to the peninsula, which allowed engaging in agriculture there. However, it took 10 years. This is how long those salt marshes were cleansed with fresh water. The salt went down, and the land became suitable for use. Due to shortage of water after it was cut off by Ukraine, they began drilling additional artesian wells across the peninsula, and as a result, the salt rose to the surface. When the Crimea returns to Ukraine, it will be necessary to wash away salt for years again and revive everything that is now dying, like after the disaster in Armyansk. There's just one thing: we will send the bill to Russia," Hrymchak said.

As reported, on the night of August 24, toxic chemicals were spotted in the air over the north of Crimea. Russia could deliberately set up an environmental disaster in Crimea in order to smear Ukraine in a disinformation campaign aimed at forcing Kyiv to restore water supplies to the occupied peninsula. This is one of the three main versions the investigators are probing. Ukrainian journalists tracked down former employees of the Crimean Titan plant, who provided their vision of why a chemical disaster occurred. The reason lays in grave violations of the technology process to dispose of hazardous substances – leftovers of titanium production, TSN reported. "For three years, hydrolysis acid has been drained into settling reservoirs in full violation of technology," ex-worker of Crimean Titan plant, Oleksandr Ivashchenko, said in an interview with TSN. "Water is not the main factor," he added. "No amount of water is able to dissolve those volumes of acid to a neutral level."

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