Westerners have bought up thousands of Airbnb holiday homes in Ukraine in a bid to support people living in the war-torn country.
Almost £1.5million was spent on 61,000 holiday home bookings between March 2 and 3, for stays that will never happen because of Vladimir Putin’s barbaric invasion.
Instead, people in Europe and the US booked the holiday homes as a means of donating directly to those on the ground who are stricken by the bombardment.
And the donations — kicked-started by a social media campaign — have led to hosts breaking down in tears, with many using their homes to help shelter those whose own houses in the shelling.
Westerners have bought up thousands of Airbnb holiday homes in Ukraine to support people living in the war-torn country. Writing on social media, one host Victoria said: ‘I’m crying! I’m just crying right now!’
Almost £1.5million was spent on 61,000 holiday home bookings between March 2 and 3. Igor, a host in Irpin near Kyiv that has come under heavy shelling for the last three days, pledged to use his apartment to provide accommodation to those who lost their homes
Host Natalia said: ‘You can’t even imagine how pleased we are to hear that we are not alone, tears in our eyes. I am very grateful for your support in this difficult time for us and all of Ukraine’
Another named Elena wrote: ‘Your help and your letter moved me to tears. ‘I re-read your letter several times and weep with happiness. It has everything that is very important now: love, support, it gives additional strength’
Writing on her Airbnb page to someone who booked a room, host Victoria said: ‘I’m crying! I’m just crying right now!
‘I’m shocked! I am incredibly grateful for your support! I have no words! Only thank you! THANK YOU!’
Another named Elena wrote to someone who donated: ‘Your help and your letter moved me to tears.
‘I re-read your letter several times and weep with happiness. It has everything that is very important now: love, support, it gives additional strength.
‘I am incredibly happy to meet new friends, I invite you to our free country after the war.’
The money raised by the Mail Force charity – in record-breaking time – has already been put to good use, with mothers and children arriving over the border to Slovakia yesterday greeted by aid workers funded by our generous readers
Marina Yatsko, left, and her boyfriend Fedor mourn over her 18 month-old son Kirill’s lifeless body, killed in shelling, as he lays on a stretcher in a hospital in Mariupol, March 4, 2022
People lie on the floor of a hospital during shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol, March 4, 2022
Ukraine war: latest
- Russia announces a ceasefire to allow civilians in the besieged port of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, to escape after days of bombardments. They also announce a ceasefire in the nearby town of Volnovakha;
- Officials in Mariupol accuse the Russians of violating the ceasefire by continuing to shell the city and say they have to delay plans to evacuate the population;
- Mariupol has been without electricity, water and heating for days;
- Russian forces inch closer to the capital Kyiv from the north but encounter stiff resistance along the way, including in Kyiv’s western suburbs and the northern town of Chernihiv;
- On Thursday, 47 people were killed in a Russian airstrike on a residential neighbourhood in Chernihiv, local authorities said;
- A fire at Europe’s biggest nuclear power station at Zaporizhzhia is put out, with Ukraine accusing Russia of ‘nuclear terror’ in shelling the plant.
Natalia said: ‘You can’t even imagine how pleased we are to hear that we are not alone, tears in our eyes.
‘I am very grateful for your support in this difficult time for us and all of Ukraine.’
Igor, a host in Irpin near Kyiv that has come under heavy shelling for the last three days, pledged to use his apartment to provide accommodation to those who lost their homes.
Airbnb announced it is working on offering free short-term housing to as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the Russian invasion.
It is also working with neighboring European countries to provide long-term stays.
Ukraine has more than 17,000 short-term holiday homes, according to market research firm AirDNA.
While the vast Russian armoured column threatening the capital remained stalled outside Kyiv, Putin’s military has bombarded cities and other sites across the country.
Russian forces did not make significant progress on Friday in their offensive to sever Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which would deal a severe blow to its economy.
There were also no changes in the north and the east, where the Russian offensive has stalled, meeting fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich said battles involving airstrikes and artillery continued north-west of Kyiv, and the north-eastern cities of Kharkiv and Okhtyrka came under heavy fire.
He said Ukrainian forces were still holding the northern city of Chernihiv and the southern city of Mykolaiv.
Ukrainian artillery also defended Ukraine’s biggest port city, Odesa, from repeated attempts by Russian ships, he said.
More than 840 children have been wounded in the war, and 28 have been killed, according to Ukraine’s government.
A total of 331 civilians had been confirmed killed but the true number is probably much higher, the UN human rights office said.
The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline UKRAINE REFUGEE APPEAL
Readers of Mail Newspapers and MailOnline have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.
Calling upon that human spirit, we are now launching an appeal to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.
For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from Russia’s invading armed forces.
As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of a tyrant will require accommodation, schools and medical support.
All donations to the Mail Ukraine Appeal will be distributed to charities and aid organisations providing such essential services.
In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.
TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE
Donate at www.mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate
To add Gift Aid to a donation – even one already made – complete an online form found here: mymail.co.uk/ukraine
Via bank transfer, please use these details:
Account name: Mail Force Charity
Account number: 48867365
Sort code: 60-00-01
TO MAKE A DONATION VIA CHEQUE
Make your cheque payable to ‘Mail Force’ and post it to: Mail Newspapers Ukraine Appeal, GFM, 42 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY
TO MAKE A DONATION FROM THE US
US readers can donate to the appeal via a bank transfer to Associated Newspapers or by sending checks to dailymail.com HQ at 51 Astor Place (9th floor), New York, NY 10003