13.12.2001 | Leonid Kluevskiy, the coordinator of chemical programs of Ecological and Cultural Center ‘Bakhmat’

On poisoning the environment with chemical weapons


It is well-know that the ecological state of the East Ukraine is catastrophic. We know of hundreds of sources and causes of the pollution of the environment. Another source, and rather unexpected one, may be added to this list.

We received from our Moscow friends-ecologists a brochure by L. Fedorov, Doctor of Chemistry and president of the Union ‘For chemical safety’. The brochure describes the history of the development, implementation and use of chemical weapons in the USSR. Moscow ecologists are deeply concerned with Russia’s obligations to destroy in 40 thousand tonnes of poisoning substances (PS) in nearest years, according to the Convention on prohibiting and destroying chemical weapons. Recently they have found, in the State military archives, that on the former Soviet territory (including Ukraine) there more than 100 places, where chemical weapons had been produced or tested. These places are very dangerous for the local inhabitants. From 1933 to the beginning of the WW2 military maneuvers with the application of chemical weapons (yperite, adamsite, etc.) were frequently conducted. These stable PS were used in chemical shells, bombs and in poisoned strips.

The information below concerns us, inhabitants of the East Ukraine: there were 15 training chemical centers in the Kharkov military okrug in 1937. Among them in the Kharkov oblast: Balakleya – Store No. 29 of the artillery ammunition (with storage of chemical weapons); Rogan railway station – Bezliudovka military camp; Zmiev – Zmiev military camp; Chuguev – Chuguev military camp, Pavlograd – Pavlograd military camp. In the Donetsk oblast: Artemovsk – Sviatogorsk military camp. In the Dnepropetrovsk oblast: Novomoskovsk-Dneprovskiy – Novomoskovsk artillery range.

The archive data showed that the enormous quantity of PS got into the soil either by way of burying (which was done everywhere) or from unexploded chemical shells and bombs. Fedorov himself found yperite in soil in the district Kuzminki within Moscow 70 years after the closure of a chemical artillery range.

The Artemovsk camp existed from 1937 to 1946. Using the ‘right of the free access to the information about the environment state’, stipukated by Article 50 part 2 of the Ukrainian Constitution, I inquired the information from the military commissariat, military unit AO 621 and the USS. I got no results. There is another weak hope – to turn to the archive in Donetsk. According to the oblique data received from regional museum, in 1945 military camp No. 415 of the NKVD was stationed in the town and it had a summer branch in Sviatogorsk. This military unit could deal with chemical weapons.

In order to unclose this mystery the Ecological and Cultural Center ‘Bakhmat’ appeals to inhabitants of our region: if you know anything about such camps, storage of chemical weapons of some anomalies of soil, please inform us by phone (06274) 6-06-24 or 6-24-25.

‘Dikoye pole’, 16-01, 7-14 August

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