Scientists have claimed that "several thousand" of dolphins have died during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, being found with "burn marks from bombs."
Ivan Rusev, research director at Ukraine’s Tuzla Estuaries National Nature Park, said in a Facebook post that the marine mammals were washing up on the coastline of the Black Sea bordering several countries, including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania.
Pictures shared by Dr Rusev showed dolphins washed up ashore with what he claims are war-related injuries, including burn marks from bombs.
"I emphasize once again that there have been serious casualties of the war among dolphins in the Black Sea in recent weeks," Rusev said.
He said the marine mammals are continuing to wash up on the coastlines with burns from bombs and landmines, as well as internal injuries, along with signs of starvation.
Dr Rusev stated: “I emphasise, once again, that there have been serious casualties of the war among dolphins in the Black Sea in recent weeks.”
Based on data collected by his team as well as other researchers across Europe, he said “several thousand” dolphins have already died amid the war in Ukraine.
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He said: “Analysis of available data collected by us during three months of the war on the coast of our national park, as well as on the materials of fresh open publications from Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and based on the personal messages of my foreign friends and colleagues, we assume that due to the cruel and insane war of racists in the Black Sea, from the beginning of the war until now, several thousand dolphins have already died.
“Barbarians kill not only civilised people but smart dolphins.”
With some of the most intense fighting occurring on the southern coast, experts warn that marine and wetland environments along the Black and Azov Seas face a particular threat.
Oleksandr Krasnolutskyi, Ukraine’s deputy minister of environmental protection and natural resources, says: “Almost 400,000 hectares and 14 Ramsar sites [wetlands designated to be of international importance by Unesco] along the coastline and lower reaches of the Dnipro river are under threat.”
There are already estimated to be billions of dollars of damage, he said.
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