CANAL BISTROE – Ukraine needs to defend itself using any means at its disposal. At the same time, the Danube Delta ecosystem must remain protected. Are these two demands mutually exclusive?

Deltas are fragile ecosystems. And so is the Danube Delta, a UNESCO site. But so are countries in time of war. And so is Ukraine, invaded by the Russian military superpower.

In order to cope with the loss of Crimea in 2014 and, more recently, with the loss of Odesa and other Black Sea ports, Ukraine needs to use alternate waterways to deliver grains and get goods. 

The only solution allowed by geography is delivering via a natural canal – Bystroye – that cuts through the Ukrainian side of the Danube Delta. But this solution is not permitted by the international treaties which define the Sulina canal (on the Romanian sector of the Danube Delta) as the only navigable waterway in the Danube Delta.

However, today, the Bystroye canal is navigable after dredging works have been carried out. Scientists are not allowed to approach the canal as the Danube Delta is right now a heavily militarised area. So what is the cost of war for the Danube Delta?

Photo credit: Petru Zoltan.

Team members

Cătălin Prisacariu

Cătălin Prisacariu is an investigative journalist based in Bucharest, Romania.

cătălin prisacariu

Oleg Oganov

Oleg Oganov is a Ukrainian investigative journalist and the founder of Nikcenter.

Petru Zoltan

Petru Zoltan is a Romanian investigative journalist with nearly two decades of experience.

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