Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ukraine plans Euro 2012 hotel on site of WW2 massacre

Kiev - The Kiev city council is considering building a hotel needed for the Euro 2012 football tournament on the site of a World War Two massacre of tens of thousands of Jews, a Ukrainian official said Tuesday. German troops and police in a two-day operation in September 1941 killed and buried 33,000 Jews in Kiev's Babi Yar ravine, in one of history's bloodiest mass murders.
The Kiev city council has listed Babi Yar, now a memorial park in a residential district of the Ukrainian capital, as one of dozens of city parks and green zones slated for possible hotel construction, said Serhy Melnik, a city council member, according to a Unian news agency report.
A Kiev city council official contacted for comment by telephone confirmed the existence of a hotel development plan, but declined to give further details.
A council resolution passed Thursday evening, but according to Melnik only made public on Tuesday, set forth as city policy a plan to attract investment for the construction of 28 hotels, on sites largely in green areas around the city centre.
Kiev, a city of some four million, is suffering a severe shortage of lodging space, with currently some 125 hotels offering 17,000 beds: a hotel density between three and six times lower than European Union averages, said Serhy Bronevetsky, a Kiev city council official.
The city development plan would add 28 hotels within Kiev city limits by 2012, Bronevetsky said last week, during city council debate.
Ukraine is co-hosting Euro 2012 with Poland. The former Soviet republic has struggled to prepare for an expected one million visitors for the 2012 tournament, with hotel room shortages and an outdated transportation infrastructure among the worst problems.
More than 100,000 Soviet citizens, predominantly Jews but also ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and Roma, were murdered and interred at Babi Yar by occupying German forces from 1941-1943, according to Soviet historians.
Western historians have focused on the September 29-30, 1941 massacre, which targeted only Kiev region ethnic Jews, and was the worst mass murder by shooting of the Jewish Holocaust.(Earth Times)

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