Concern for Carpathians is at the center of a letter to Prince Albert II of Monaco, president of the International
Olympic Committee's (IOC) Sustainability Committee
(BASEL/LAUSANNE/KIEV) In a letter to the International Olympic Committee, 55 European, American and Asian environmental
associations call on the IOC to reject any request to hold the Winter Olympics in the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine.
The reason for this is the possible negative impact on the fragile ecosystem of the Carpathians, one of the last large
contiguous wilderness regions in Europe.
The associations criticize the fact that the Ukrainian government under President Volodymyr Zelenski will use the
Olympic candidacy to legitimize controversial construction projects in the Carpathians, located in the immediate
vicinity of UNESCO-protected forest areas.
At the center of controversy is a planned huge new ski resort for 28,000 people in Svydovets, a largely untouched
mountain massif in the headwaters region of the Tisza River. The company behind the project, Skorzonera LLC, is
controlled by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, a controversial figure who is under investigation by American authorities for
alleged financial crimes. Recently, a Ukrainian court refused to greenlight the project plans on the grounds of
procedural errors, after they had been rushed through by the regional authorities.
In February 2021, the European Parliament criticised the Svydovets project as illegal and called on Ukraine to
demonstrate more transparency and consideration for the environment when developing its tourism infrastructure.
The letter, addressed to Prince Albert II of Monaco, president of the IOC Sustainability Committee, demands that the IOC
discontinues any plans for Winter Olympic Games in the Carpathians. During a recent visit to Kiev, IOC President Thomas
Bach had announced a strategic dialogue with the Ukrainian government on possible Winter Games in Ukraine.