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Police launch investigation into suspected arson at Kyiv wetland park

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 6, 2024 2:16 PM 2 min read
A fire blazes at Lake Tiahle in the Osokorky Ecopark in Kyiv on March 5, 2024. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine / Telegram)
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A pre-trial investigation has started into the fire that broke out on the evening of March 5 at Osokorky Ecopark, a wetland park in Kyiv's Darnytskyi district, the Kyiv Police said on March 6.

The wetland park has been the center of a decades-long struggle between property developers and civil society activists, who campaign against illegal construction on the lakes and meadows and demand the local authorities revoke building permits.

Emergency services received reports of a fire near Lake Tiahle at around 4:46 p.m. on March 5. Dry grasses and reeds near the lake caused the fire to spread to an area of three hectares, while flooding and lack of access routes hindered firefighting operations.

Firefighters were able to localize the fire at 11:15 p.m. The fire was extinguished shortly before midnight.

In a social media post, the Osokorky Ecopark NGO said it had received a threat of arson a few days before the fire. The post implied that developers may have been behind the blaze.

The Kyiv Police said that investigators "have initiated criminal proceedings under Part 2 of Art. 252 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine," which concerns "deliberate destruction or damage of territories taken under state protection and objects of the nature reserve fund."

The Kyiv City Prosecutor's Office said that the circumstances around the fire are being established, as well as the damage to the nature reserve and possible causes of the fire.

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