On April 2, in the Rivne City Court took place preparatory hearing in the case of Kronospan UA against Andriy Ovsiychuk, an activist who criticizes the construction of Kronospan. The lawsuit against Andriy Ovsiychuk stated that activist damaged the business reputation of the enterprise by his public activity and critics of the plant construction. The activist was demanded to pay UAH 150,000 of compensation through the court. Despite the fact that the litigation has been going on for a year, consideration of the case has not begun yet.
Meanwhile, a woodworking plant is being built in Horodok. As a result of its planned activities 11 tons of formaldehyde will be released into the air annually. The company will process more than 8% of all wood logged in Ukraine.
I have already lost count of the postponed preparatory meetings. They filed a lawsuit in February, but before that they tried to reach an agreement with me three times, they tried to bribe me. They offered a political career, a good job and even offered to move with my parents to an apartment away from the plant, – said Andriy Ovsiychuk.
A lawyer Oleh Masliuk represented the activist in the Rivne City Court. According to him, this claim does not subject to satisfaction:
From a legal point of view, this claim is unsound in principle. In the statement, the plaintiffs did not provide any evidence. Today we had to close the preparatory proceedings and proceed to consideration on the merits, – said Oleg Maslyuk.
Maria, a resident of Horodok, came to the preparatory court hearing. She claims that she is not indifferent to the fate of her village. She called absurd the pressure on activists and members of the initiative group by representatives of the woodworking plant:
I care about my health, the health of my children, parents and neighbors. We already have Azot*. Kronospan will not emit sacred pollen and water into the air. 11 tons of formaldehyde is not a joke, but a serious threat to our lives, – said Maria.
A similar lawsuit was filed against Ecoclub in March 2020. According to the plaintiff, certain publications of the organization damaged its business reputation. According to the court’s decision, Ecoclub had to withdraw several statements from two publications and social networks and pay a court fee of UAH 4,204. On February 24, Ecoclub filed a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court, asking the court to protect its right to freely disseminate critical remarks about the construction of Kronospan woodworking plant. It also demanded to reverse the decisions of previous instances.
Ecoclub believes that by suiting active community members, threatening with huge fines and delaying court proceedings, the plant’s representatives are pressuring and trying to intimidate the community, which doubted the project from the beginning. We condemn such action and call on Kronospan to stop the pressure on the Gorodok community.
*Rivneazot is one of the largest chemical plants in Ukraine.