"WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged New Zealand to take a leading role in focusing on the environmental destruction his country is suffering as a result of Russia’s invasion.
Zelenskyy delivered his message via video link to lawmakers who packed the debating chamber at 8 a.m. Wednesday. He became just the second foreign leader to address New Zealand’s parliament, after Australia’s Julia Gillard did so in 2011.
Zelenskyy said it was possible to rebuild a nation’s economy and infrastructure, even though it may take many years.
“But you can’t rebuild destroyed nature, just as you can’t restore destroyed lives,” he said.
Zelenskyy is pushing for a 10-point peace plan that, as well as environmental protection, including items such as nuclear safety and justice. He has been asking various countries to take a lead on different points.
He said some of the environmental effects of the war included poisoned groundwater, ravaged forests, flooded coal mines and huge areas of Ukraine that remain contaminated from unexploded mines."
Nick Perry reports for the Associated Press December 13, 2022.