KHARKIV OBLAST, UKRAINE, May 2 — On the evening of May 1, Russian artillery shelling caused a dry coniferous forest to catch fire on the outskirts of Novoosynove village in the Kurylivka community, reported the press service of the State Emergency Service in Kharkiv region.

The press service noted that the fire had spread over about eight hectares by the time the firefighters arrived. It took two hours for three operational units of the State Emergency Service to put it out. There were no casualties or injuries.

Putting out fire spread in the forest of Kupiansk district in the aftermath of Russian shelling / Photo: State Emergency Service in the Kharkiv region

In total, rescuers from the Kharkiv garrison of the State Emergency Service extinguished 20 fires during the day, six of which were caused by Russian shelling. In particular, on the morning of May 1, the Russian army hit Zolochiv with an airstrike. The fire spread throughout an area of 40 m2. Eight cars were on fire.

Rescuers are putting out a fire in Kupiansk district / Photo: SES in the Kharkiv region

Russians occupied almost half of the Kharkiv region in February-March 2022. In early September of the same year, the Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated most of its territory. Due to the hostilities, about 40-45% of the Kharkiv region’s forests are currently mined or damaged by fires.

The State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine estimates that the Russian military invasion has damaged almost 30% of Ukraine’s forests. An analysis of satellite images by journalists shows that over the two years of full-scale war, Russians have destroyed more than 60,000 hectares of forests in the occupied territories. The minimum estimate of the value of the lost forest exceeds $359 million. This is only direct damage from the loss of timber, not including other consequences of the hostilities, which can cost much more to eliminate.

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  • The Russian shelling of the Kharkiv region on May 1 killed four people and injured 14 others, reported the Kharkiv Oblast Governor, Oleh Syniehubov.