war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Water as an instrument of warfare

Yury Aseev

At another meeting in Minsk the participants of contact group on the de-escalation of armed conflict in the region of Donbas discussed the question on providing inhabitants of occupied territories with water again.

As the special representative of OSCE in trilateral contact group Martin Saydik has declared after the meeting  “… the contact group unanimously has supported the proposal of the head of Special monitoring mission ambassador Erturul Apakan to prepare measures for ensuring trouble-free operation of water infrastructure for the next meeting ".

Also he has reported that at the end of May the second payment for supply of water to certain areas of the Luhansk region has been made. This fact has allowed to proceed providing the population of these areas with water.

However representatives of the so-called republics have accused the Ukrainian side of reducing the supply of water to occupied territories again and thereby creating prerequisites on emergence of sanitary and epidemiologic threat for the civilian population.

Human rights activists of HPG tried to understand the matter …

We will start from the very beginning. Prior to armed conflict RCE(Regional Communal Enterprise) "the “Luganskvoda Company” was engaged in operation on water-supply and water disposal in the Luhansk region. After cooling of "a hot phase" in the fall of 2014 and the first Minsk agreements it turned out so that control of RCE "the Luganskvoda Company” remained in the uncontrollable territory of Ukraine. Some of its subdivisions, departments and areas working at the territories under control of Ukraine were left without the status of the legal entity. There was a question of how to carry further operation on support of the population with water and reception of sinks as well as the question what legal person would appear the side in the contractual relations with subscribers. The Luhansk regional council didn’t function and the head of regional public administration of that time Gennady Moskal had no right to dispose of territorial property. Due to the fact the decision to create the district municipal enterprise with functions of the regional enterprise was made. Such enterprise was created in the Popasna district (in the territory of which there were main water scoops and filtration plants). Ivan Vilkov headed the municipal enterprise "Popasna Regional Water Utility" according to the decision of current Popasna district council on December 23, 2014.

We should make a small digression about features of geography of work of the enterprise. The main source of water in the Luhansk region is the river the Seversky Donets. On river banks there are more than twenty water intaking stations of different power. They provide more than 60% of need for water of the cities of the Luhansk region. Large city agglomerations are located in the south of the area, in the occupied territory. The main water intakes are Belogorovskaya and Svetlichanskaya intaking stations. Through conduits from these stations water shakes to Pervomaisk, Stakhanov, to Bryank, Alchevsk, Perevalsk, the Red Beam, Anthracite and nearby settlements.

CE "Popasna Regional Water Utility" has included all areas of enterprise which serve pump stations along the whole length of the Seversky Donets across the Luhansk region – the areas of the Popasna, Novoaydar and Stanitsa and Luhansk districts, except territories of the Severodonetsk, Rubezhnoye and Lysychansk Town Councils. At the same time the pump stations located below the settelment Crimean on the right bank of the Seversky Donets are under management of SUE LPR “Luganskvoda”.

In 2015 CE "Popasna Regional Water Utility" got 150 million UAH on restoration of infrastructure and for recovery work of water highways and infrastructure. One of the main problems in the organization of repair work is that repair crews can’t get to some production sites because the territory is mined.

The western filtration plant in Belogorovka (ZFS-1) transfers 95% of the extracted and purified water to uncontrollable territories works. Only 5% of water are implemented in the under control territory. The equipment of the station works in such a way that the minimum water supply and an intake from the river can be carried out in volume from 3500 m3 an hour. Consumption of water in the under control territory at the maximum load makes only 1000 m3 an hour.

In the occupied territory water is accepted and distributed by "successor" of RCE "the Luganskvoda Company” - SUE LPR “Luganskvoda”. Disband the legal person of RCE "the Luganskvoda Company wasn’t possible as it was created by regional council and it is its degree of responsibility. So the question concerns property rights of inhabitants of the Luhansk regional community. All debts for the electric power, for resources, tax obligations, etc., which had made RCE "the Luganskvoda Company” by the end of 2014 remained with it. The issue of the future of the company will be resolved by the Luhansk regional council after the election.

Thus, in 2015 the work of the enterprise which takes primary filtration and supply of water including occupied territories of the Luhansk region was legalized.

Ivan Vilkov, director of “the Popasna regional water utility”:

"The Popasna regional water utility" didn’t become the right successor of the RCE enterprise of “Luganskvoda”. The property of “Luganskvoda” was simply transferred to management of "The Popasna regional water utility".

In January, 2017, an insignificant part of means for supply of water to the uncontrollable territory was paid. But despite it, the sum of debt makes 29 million UAH at the moment.

To settle the situation within arrangements of Trilateral contact group in Minsk Ltd company ”Istochnik novoy zhizni” has been created for carrying out calculations for the water put in LPR. On August 25, 2016 the contract for service of the centralized drinking water supply has been signed between CE "Popasna Regional Water Utility" and Ltd company. “The Dzherelo Novogo Zhittya” enterprise is responsible for the current debt.

The question of debt which was formed from 2014 to August, 2016 is under consideration in Minsk. The sum of this debt is 240 million UAH.

Supply of water to the occupied territory periodically stops due to repair work. At the moment water supply is made not in all directions. All pump stations are on the line of demarcation, in this regard the equipment is constantly exposed to firings. There aren’t enough funds for repairing.

As to the question of when water supply of the occupied territory stops, there is no policy, there is an economic balance of the enterprise. We are ready to pump water, but we are limited by LEO. The question of cutoff of water is connected with specifications, but in no way with genocide of the population in the occupied territory.

Water intake which we can carry out is 80 000 cube a day.

The line of demarcation, after the beginning of carrying out anti-terrorist operation, has passed so that the most part of water intakes that is about 75% remained in the under control territory of Ukraine, and 90% of realization remained in the uncontrollable territory.

On the first rise there are 3, 2 megawatt engines, on the second – 2 megawatt engines.

Water is taken not only from the Seversky Donets, but also from 320 slits. At the moment the “Popasna Regional Water Utility” enterprise provides about 31 thousand subscribers with water - from Stanitsa-Luganska to Popasna in the territory under control of Ukraine. About 2 000 000 people are in the uncontrollable Ukrainian territories".

Infrastructure of the conduits feeding the occupied territory.

The enterprise created on the basis of RCE "the Luganskvoda Company " SUE LPR Luganskvoda became the successor of all property complex of the chief supplier of water in the southern sector of the Luhansk region. All water rutting, pumping and filtration plants, treatment facilities, city networks of water supply systems in the occupied territory transferred under control of this company. Naturally, the speech about RCE debts to LEO for the electric power in such context isn’t considered.

The enterprise "SUE LPR Luganskvoda” gives the following information about itself:

- extraction of water makes about 90,0 million cubic meters a year (246,5 thousand m 3 a day);

- 87% are extracted from underground water intakes, in the basin of the river the Seversky Donets and its inflows, 44 water intakes of underground waters and 230 slits are used;

- 13% are taken from open sources of Yanovsky and Elizavetinsky water reservoirs;

Transportation of water is carried out on:

- 6 415 km of conduits of the trunk and parting networks;

- 136 water pumping stations;

- 160 pure tanks;

Implementation of water is made to:

- 140 settlements, about 900 thousand population are enveloped;

- 305,6 thousand subscribers of multi-storey buildings and 182,8 thousand subscribers of the private sector;

- 5,2 thousand legal entities;

Lead out of sinks is carried out on:

- 1547 km of sewer networks;

- 74 sewer pumping stations;

- 36 complexes of sewer treatment facilities design capacity of 450 thousand CBM a day.

In its turn the head enterprise consists of the following departments:

Stakhanov department

Services the following settlements: towns of Stakhanov, Almazna , Irmino and Pervomaisk , villages Mikhaylovka, Maryevk, Albert, Sokologorovk and Kalinovo.

370 employees work in Stakhanov department. It has in service 1 115 km of water supply systems, 324 km of sewer. There are 122, 3 thousand subscribers, 1 136 legal entities.

Alchevsk department

services the following settlements:

villages Slavyanoserbsk, Stenovoye, Lotikovo, Rodakovo, Dolgoye, Lozovsky, Smeloye, Khorosheye, Novodachnoye, Govorukha, Karpaty, Sukhodol, 2BIS, Seleznyovka, Bugayevka, Kipucheye, Komsomolka, Sofiyevska, Yaschikovo, Delta, Bashtatevichi, 8BIS, Bairachky, Pavlovka, Noviy, Zamkovka, Anenka, Lomovotka, and towns of Krasniy Luch, Alchevsk, Perevalsk, Zymogoriye, Artemovsk, Petrovskoye, Anthracit, Bryanka, Stakhanov and Kirovsk.

756 employees work in the Alchevsk department. It has in service 1 685 km of water supply systems, 275 km ofsewer. There are 134,9 thousand subscribers and 1 182 legal entities .

Krasnoluchsky department

services the following settlements:

Towns of Krasniy Luch, Vakhrushevo, settlements of Ivanovka, Grushovoye, Yanovka. 303 employees work in Krasnoluchsky department. It has in service 584 km of water supply systems , 164 km of sewer. Subscribers – 60,5 thousand people, legal entities - 736.

Anthracitovsky department

services the following settlements:

Town Anthracite, settlements Kameny, Shchetovo, Dubovsky, Verkhniy Nagolchik, Krepensky, Bokovo - Platovo, Hristoforovka, Rafailovka, Krasnoluchsky.

204 employees work in Antratsitovsky department.

It has in service 435 km of water supply systems, 112 km of sewer.

There are 66,6 thousand subscribers , 494 legal entities .

Southern department

services the following settlements:

city of Luhansk, towns Aleksandrovsk and Lutugino, settlements Yubileiniy, Ekaterinovka, Teplichnoye, Yuryevka, Yuryevka-1, Beloye-1, Radostnoye, Tarasovka, Belorechensky, Lyman, Metallist, Stukalova Balka, Tsvetniye Peski, Svetloye, Obozny, Privetny, Veselaya Gora, Semeykino, Krasnodon, Shyrokoye, Svetlichny, Novosvetlovka, Prydorozhnoye, Talovoye, Mirnyi, Ordzhonikidze, Zelenaya Roscha, villages Vrubovsky, Uspenk, Georgiyevk, Chelyuskin, Lenin, Engelsovo, Lysoye, Valeevka, Vyshneviy Dol, Pionerskoye, Samsonovka, Rayevka, Shishkovo, Ogulchansk, arkhomenko, Beloskelevatoye, Nikolaevka, Lobachevo, Roskoshnoye.

1 143 employees work in the Southern department.

It has in service 1886 km.of water supply systems , 483 km of sewer .

There are 413,2 thousand subscribers, 4 388 legal entities .

Sverdlovsk department

services the following settlements:

towns of Sverdlovsk and Chervonopartyzansk, settlements of Kalinin, Khmelnytskyi, Mine 71, Volodarsk, Komsomolsky, Leninsky, Pavlovka, villages of Aleksandrovka, Gornoye, Medvezhanka.

212 employees work in the Sverdlovsk department.

It has in service 329 km of water supply systems, 114 km sewer.

There are 75,2 thousand subscribers, 519legal entities.

Rovenkovsky department

services the following settlements:

town of Rovenki, settlements of Tatsino, N. Daryevka, Dzerzhinsk, Yasenovsky, Proletarsky, Chapayevka, Kievsky.

179 employees work in the Sverdlovsk department.

It has in service 404 km of water supply systems, 93 km of sewer.

There are 53,4 thousand subscribers, 422 legal entities.

SUE LPR Luganskvoda specifies the following quotations on the website:

For the population the tariff on water supply is set at a rate of 14,508 Russian rubles for 1 m3, for water disposal - 8,798 Russian rubles for 1 m3.

For legal entities the tariff on water supply is set at a rate of 24,759 Russian rubles for 1 m3, and for water disposal - 17,355 rubles for 1 m3.

The most interesting things are normative documents which SUE LPR Luganskvoda uses in the work. They are provided in the section "Legislative and Regulatory Base": Laws of Ukraine "About housing and communal services",

"About drinking water and drinking water supply",

"Rules of rendering of services of the centralized heating, supply of cold and hot water and water disposal”,

the standard contract on rendering of services on the centralized heating, supply of cold and hot water and water disposal.

Thus, the Ukrainian side delivers water to occupied territories from two main water intakes located in under control territories – from the Western filtration plant (Belogorovk) and the Petrovsky water intake in the Stanichno - Luhansky district. In case of restriction or interruption in supply of water with ZFS, difficulties with water supply will be experienced in Stakhanov, Kirovsk, Bryanka, Pervomaisk, Krasny Luch, Anthracite and Alchevsk. In case of a stop of deliveries from the Petrovsky water intake deficiency of water arises in a number of inhabited massifs of Luhansk, in Kamennobrodsky district.

Representatives of so-called LPR claim that SUE LPR Luganskvoda provides occupied territories with water for 84% independently, and supply of water from the Ukrainian side has decreased to 15%. Figures show that before May, 2014 260 thousand cubic meters of water a day were given from the territories nowadays under control to Ukraine to the towns and settlements which are in the territories nowadays controlled by so-called LPR. In the territories of so-called LPR about 130 thousand cubic meters were extracted. Today on average about 45-50 thousand cubic meters of water a day are delivered from territories under control to Ukraine to so-called LPR, and the volume of independent extraction of water in the territories under control to so-called LPR SUE LPR “Luganskvoda” is about 260 thousand cubic meters.

Thus, representatives of so-called LPR publicly disprove dependence of settlements of so-called "republic" on supply of water from the territories controlled by Ukraine.

However a number of sources in "republic" claim that shortage of water is filled by the water which is pumped out from mines. It doesn’t pass all stages of the required cleaning and doesn’t match at all under standards of water which can be delivered to the population. The thing is not even that it is impossible to call it "drinking" - this characteristic was cleaned off housing and communal services long ago. Present standards divide water into "cold" and "hot". But even according to standards "cold water", the water delivered to inhabitants of occupied territories falls short at all.

Due to the fact the water which is taken into trunk water supply systems from the controlled territories has special value …

It is highly necessary to consider the question of sewage treatment. Even prior to armed conflict this subject was repeatedly raised in media of the region. The matter is that treatment facilities of water utilities in the settlements which are nowadays entering into so-called LPR allowed gross violations of technology of sewage treatment.

As it is impossible to deliver clearing reagents for gorvodokanal of occupied territories, it is quite expected that today the technology of sewage treatment isn’t withstood especially. That already makes a big problem for ecobalance of all river basin the Seversky Donets.

For example treatment facilities in Pervomaisk dump wastewater to the river Lugan. Products of cleaning of the towns Kirovsk, Stakhanov, Zimogoroe are dumped into the same river. Settlements Chernukhino, Seleznevka, Mikhaylovka, towns Pervalsk, Alchevsk dump sewage to the small river Belaya, then it falls into the small river of Lugan.

After that this rivulet collects in itself all rain washouts of Luhansk and Aleksandrovsk, and all unauthorized dumpings from various enterprises as well. Then it falls into the Seversky Donets. Downstream Petrovsky water intake which pumps water for inhabitants of surrounding settlements is situated.

It should be noted that before the water intake for Luhansk citizens was carried out in the point of the Raigorodsky water intake from where also the “Seversky Donets-Donbass” channel begins. This happened because quality of water on this section of the river still met the minimum requirements imposed to "water for the population". Downsteam rivers Kazeniy Torets and Bakhmutka which collect all sewage from the cities and towns of Donetsk region fall into S. Donets. Towns of the Luhansk region – Rubezhnoye, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk also make their contribution into water pollution. And only the Belogorovsky water intake is located upstream – on border of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and that is why water is a bit purer there. The Svetlichansky water intake and all the others located downstream extort from the river mixture of river water and sewage from the cities located upstream the Seversky Donets and all its inflows …

We should say several words about communications between Kiev and occupied territories. Representatives of "republic" place emphasis that Ukraine applies inadmissible methods in relation to the civilian population. Here it is about the Geneva convention ("Convention for the Protection of Civilian People in Time of War", August

12, 1949). In particular, " Supplementary Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, concerning the Protection of Victims of Armed Conflict of Non-Intracularity "(Protocol II of 8 June 1977) states:

Article 14. Protection of the objects necessary for survival of the civilian population

It is forbidden to use hunger among the civilian population as a method of guiding of military operations. Therefore it is forbidden to attack, destroy, take out or to put for this purpose out of commission the objects necessary for survival of the civilian population, such as the inventories of food making a food agricultural regions, crops, the cattle, constructions for supply with drinking water and inventories last and also irrigational constructions."

And one more document – “ Supplementary Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, concerning the Protection of Victims of Armed Conflict of Non-Intracularity "(Protocol I of 8 June 1977) repeats almost word for word

Article 54. Protection of objects necessary for the survival of the civilian population

1. It is prohibited to resort to hunger among the civilian population as a method of warfare.

2. It is forbidden to attack or destroy, expel, or expel objects which are necessary for the survival of the civilian population, such as food stocks, agricultural areas producing food, crops, livestock, facilities for providing drinking water and supplies of the latter, as well as irrigation Structures specifically designed to prevent the use of their civilian population or the opposite side as a means of maintaining existence, regardless of the motives, as if to cause a famine among the civilian people, force them to leave or for any other reason".

"The Ukrainian side blocks the possibility of non-cash payment of deliveries of water from territories of the Luhansk region under control to Kiev to "republic". The authorized representative of LPR at negotiations in the Belarusian capital Vladislav Deynego has reported about it.

" Generally the working group on questions of economy and restoration considered questions of water and power supply of territories of the Republics. The coordinator has noted a number of problems including safe work of subjects on water supply on the lines of demarcation. It is necessary to work on them" — he has noted.

"But lack of the operating legal mechanism of calculations remains the main problem. We are ready to pay in full for water received from the Ukrainian side according to conditions of the contract. But we can’t make it – Ukraine blocks a possibility of clearing settlements systemically " — Deynego has emphasized.

The enterprise "has been created by TOV "DZHERELO NOVOGO ZHITTYA" for calculations for supply of water to occupied territories of the Luhansk region. Gedzeruk Igor Yuriyevich is registered as the director. The son of the director lives in Luhansk, the daughter in Moscow. Requisites of the enterprise – Severodonetsk, Himikov Ave., 30, ph. 0959104495.

The Luhansk media in 2010 reported the following about this person:

1. "The municipal enterprises of Luhansk were the swindlers extorting money from Luhansk citizens for "utilities before 2002""

2. "Luhansk Rogues"

We won’t comment on these materials. However the question of reception of funds from occupied territories through the similar intermediary doesn’t look absolutely accepted.

There is no clarity in a question of supply of water to occupied territories of the Luhansk region and in questions of receiving payment for it.

P.S. We will consider the problems of water supply of occupied territories of Donetsk region in the following material.

 Share this