Russia's invasion of Ukraine launched in February last year accounts for around 150 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, a deputy Ukrainian minister cited experts as saying on Monday.
"The war has a devastating impact on the environment. Air, soil and water is polluted as a result of the fighting," Viktoria Kireyeva, Ukraine's deputy minister of environmental protection and natural resources, said in Dubai.
"The total amount of emissions after 18 months of war is estimated to be 150 million tons of CO2, which is more than the annual emission of a highly developed country like Belgium," she said at a conference on the sidelines of the COP28 climate conference.
The estimate comes from the Initiative on GHG Accounting of War, a group of experts studying the climate impact of the Ukraine war.
"The warfare itself is 25% of those emissions," mostly due to fossil fuel consumption by the Russian and Ukrainian armies, one of the experts, Lennard de Klerk, told the conference.
Numerous fires, which are particularly frequent along the front line because of the fighting, account for 15%.
The experts also took into account emissions due to the movement of refugees and detours for planes avoiding Ukraine.
But the biggest share of estimated emissions — 54.7 million tons, or around a third of the total — is a projection of the climate costs of rebuilding towns and cities left in ruins by the war.
The construction sector is responsible for at least 37% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the United Nations.
Kireyeva said Ukraine "will recover but it will additionally cost a significant amount of emissions," adding that Russia should be held "accountable" for this.