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Criminal repressions against the Danube reserve: the thirteenth day.

November 2, 5 policemen led by investigator of the Danube transport Office of Public Prosecutor presented the Danube biosphere reserve's administration the Decree on institution proceedings of criminal case concerning the officials of the DBR and withdrew 3 computers and 340 volumes of the documentation, including the book-keeping.

The actual reason of instituting these proceedings consists in firm disagreement of Ukrainian National academy of sciences (of whose authority the DBR is currently under), concerning with the civil-engineering project of construction a shipping canal Danube - the Black sea through the Bystre estuary. The Ministry of transport - lobbyist of this project - being almost all-mighted in Ukraine, has reckoned pressure through fiscal bodies to be a decent way to use in controvercy.

The criminal case has considerably approached the realization of Mintrans's purpose, having both paralised activity of the reserve and weakened it with fiscal pressure. Now it directly threatens the very existence of the reservation establishment.


For example, because of the Danube reserve's specific character, it's officials, while working on an island deep in the delta, can use the watch method only. Therefore their work demands large amounts of fuel being now unattainable for the reserve. If the blocking of the conserving service proceeds, tens of thousands ha of the biosphere reserve's territory will in the nearest future appear totally unprotected of poachers.

On the other hand, now judicial process concerning withdrawal from reserve all arms and inland waters goes: the Vilcovo city council together with the Ministry of transport's officers considers the reservoir grounds not belonging to the reserve already. Such attitude increases threat of poaching still further. And the blocking of activity doesn't allow the reserve to assert it's interests in court.

Following the Office of Public Prosecutor, other supervising organizations have begun to press on reserve. November 11, department of state exchequer in Chilia region obliged the reserve to pay the taxes urgently and to execute the budget. The reserve is not capable to fulfill that, however, as far as it's activity is actually stopped. Also, it is to be especially emphasized, that blocking the budget fulfilment is prerogative of the special bodies only, to which Office of Public Prosecutor (furthermore the transport one) just cannot be ascribed.

And there's still the urgent necessesity to pay the employees their wages, to purchase fuel for heating the office, to pay telephone services, electric power and other utility...


November 11, the deputy chief of the Department of control-inspectioning administration of the Odessa region V. . Rnzk (analyzing withdrawn accounting documents) required from the reserve's chief accountant to give explanations of the very documents, what the chief accountant, naturally, can't comply with, having no papers on her hands.

V. . Rnzk said, that in case of default from cooperation with investigation the reserve's chief accountant will be called for a week to a mission for working with the documents. Thus, infringing the legislation the reserve's chief accountant, being one of the witnesses, is put pressure upon, having had to testify against herself. Besides, withdrawal the reserve's documents as was specified in the Act was made to prevent their destruction. And if any document is lost when being worked with by the reserve's employee the latter can easily be accused of loss...


IN ANY CASE, THE FORECASTS CONCERNING DEVELOPMENT OF THE SITUATION FOR RESERVE ARE DISAPPOINTING.
Presumably, or Office of Public Prosecutor rendering illegal pressure on the reserve's service persons, now being witnesses and having no right to resort the attorney, will find "infringement", and the "witnesses" will transform to "accused", either other fiscal bodies will find out violations resulting from the forced break of reserve's activity that is but again a direct consequence of withdrawal the reserve's documentation and equipment. Actually this is what the state exchequer in Chilia region doing. The the probability cannot be avoided of reserve having no possibility to accomplish it's functions because of forced inactivity, in particular struggling down the poaching is impossible with no constant guard. Also, the reserve wil not be able to pay different services, what in no time will lead to stop it's administration's activity. Moreover, the employees will begin to leave.

In any case, current reserve's administration will be replaced with that of Mintrans would prefer, and the very problem with constructioning the canal will vanish.


In our opinion, OBJECTIVE DECISION ABOUT THE SITUATION AROUND THE DANUBE BIOSPHERE RESERVE, AS WELL AS IT'S FUTURE, NOW DEPENDS FIRST OF ALL ON ACTIVE POSITION OF EUROPEAN COMMUNITY.

The highest officials of Ukraine have already repeatedly proved readiness to satisfy their interests through destructing the biosphere reserve, infringing the national legislation and international obligations of a state and completely ignoring the public opinion... Naturally, under the cover of democratic promises.

November 11, the director of the Danube biosphere reserve . Voloshkevich lodged the General prosecutor of Ukraine and the Prosequtor of the Odessa region a complaint about the Decree on institution proceedings of criminal case against the DBR. The criminal case being instituted with no reference to the criminal-remedial legislation, . Voloshkevich asked to close it.


Prepared by the Environmental group "Pechenegy"
The Ukrainian coalition "For the Wild Nature"

We are grateful for the help in search of the information O. eln (Ecopravo-Lviv)
and for translation of materials M. Shevchenko ("Green Future", Kiev) and
O. Zakharova (International Socio-ecological Union).


TECHNICAL ACCIDENT IN DANUBE RESERVE - THE PTICHYA (PTASHINAYA) SPIT SUFFERED AGAIN

Technical accident happened during the continued navigable canal construction through Bystroe estuary in the Danube reserve. Environmentalists warned about the danger of accidents, but officials were deaf to protests and warnings.

First strong autumn storm at November 10 night turned over German sand sucker platform M-28 belonging to Moebius and threw it onto Ptichya (Ptashinaya) Spit, which is about 700 m away from the Bystroye estuary. The sand sucker silt-sucking pipes were also thrown over the spit - about 1 km 300 m from Bystroe estuary. On November 12 and 13 canal construction workers tried to approach the spit using two barges with excavators. Excavators were deepening the sea bottom, as was very shallow. However, they did not succeed.

On November 16 barges approached the spit for about 80 m and tried to use ropes to get the pipes off the spit.

These works were not agreed with the Danube reserve administration, despite the fact that the works are exceeding the anthropogenic zone borders.

Fortunately, this time no oil or fuel spill happened. However, the whole situation shows how dangerous is this construction for fragile delta ecosystems.


As one may recall, the Ptashinaya (the Bird) spit has already suffered in summer - three bird colonies perished because of the construction nearby. Birds left their nests scared by the construction noise.

The reserve itself is in catastrophic situation - Ministry of Transport of Ukraine heavily lobbies for more changes in the reserve zoning - the Bystroye estuary
factual exclusion from the reserve was not enough for the almighty Ministry and their protege Delta-Pilot.


The Transport Prosecutors office raided the reserve and took away all the documents needed for every day work, including fuel procurement and use. Currently there is a problem for rangers to sail out and protect the remaining reserve territory. Different fiscal entities are pressing the reserve, which is almost helpless without its documents.

International Socio-Ecological Union, Ukrainian Coalition for Wild Nature already demanded to stop the rights and law abuse in Ukraine. I international intervention in the situation is urgently needed, or present corrupt bureaucrats and greedy business people will finally destroy the real Danube reserve.

Pictures of pipes on the spit are available.

DETAILS: www.seu.ru/projects/eng/dunay

CONTACTS:
Danube Biosphere Nature Reserve: Director. Alexander Voloshkevich;
Ph. \fax: (04843) 4-46-19 or 3-11-95; reserve@odtel.net
International Socio-ecological Union:
Olga Zakharova seupress@seu.ru


Prepared by O. Zakharova (International Socio-ecological Union)


more about the problem
www.seu.ru/projects/eng/dunay

seu-info@seu.ru