Oligarch’s resort plans threaten primeval beech forests

A planned mega ski resort in the Ukrainian Carpathians threatens some of Europe’s last primeval beech forests.

The Bruno Manser Fund today presents a 50-page research report on a planned mega ski resort in the Ukrainian Carpathians at the Ministry of the Environment in Kyiv. The project includes the construction of 230 km of ski slopes, 390 holiday homes, 120 restaurants and 60 hotels in the Svydovets massif, which is home to some of the last primeval beech forests in Europe.

The politically explosive report "The Svydovets Case" shows that the Ukrainian company Skorzonera LLC is behind the billion dollar project. The responsible authorities had so far claimed that the project was not connected with private commercial interests.

Skorzonera belongs to the oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogoliubov, who are involved in several ongoing court cases in Ukraine, Great Britain and Switzerland.

The authors of the report criticise the non-transparent procedure used in planning the resort in the ecologically fragile mountain massif, where 93 endangered animal and plant species live, including the European brown bear, the Eurasian lynx, the capercaillie and the endemic Carpathian newt.

The lack of involvement of the local population in the project amounts to a clear violation of the Aarhus Convention, which prescribes transparent planning procedures.

Lukas Straumann, Executive Director of the Bruno Manser Fund, said: "The Svydovets massif is one of Europe's last great wilderness areas. The protection of this area is of international importance and must be promoted by Ukraine and supported by the European Union."

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