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Why are so many people booking Airbnb rooms in Ukraine?

People from around the world have booked more than 60,000 nights at Airbnb accommodations in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country at the end of last month.

At first glance, the statistic sounds crazy, as who on earth would want to put their lives in danger by vacationing in a place suffering heavy bombing along with all of the other ugly realities of war.

But folks booking Airbnb rooms in Ukraine of course have no intention of going there. Instead, it’s a way of offering financial support to some of the nation’s beleaguered citizens who are currently seeing their homeland torn apart by a needless conflict.

Commenting on the unexpected trend of people booking rooms in Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told the BBC on Monday it was “just an example of the incredible kindness that’s being demonstrated around the world.”

However, the Airbnb boss said it was vital for anyone booking rooms in Ukraine to be absolutely certain that the host is genuine, an important point also made by U.K.-based travel expert Simon Calder, who suggested scammers could easily set up a listing to nab cash from well-meaning people trying to assist struggling Ukrainians.

Lots of talk about booking random Airbnbs in Ukraine and paying for them with no intention of staying, to transfer cash to the country.
Warning: were I a Russian scammer, I would be setting up fake Airbnbs in Kiev and Odessa as fast as I could to cash in on those noble intentions

— Simon Calder (@SimonCalder) March 4, 2022

Chesky added that a guaranteed way to assist Ukrainians is to make a cash donation via its airbnb.org, with funds going toward providing emergency housing for those in need. Hosts are also being encouraged to open their homes to refugees, with Airbnb’s site offering an easy way to add their accommodation to the list.

Following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Airbnb, like many other major companies around the world, recently suspended operations in Russia and also Belarus, which has let Russia use its land for troop deployments ahead of entering Ukraine.

“We know a lot of incredible community members in these countries and so these decisions are always not made lightly and they’re incredibly difficult,” Chesky said.

For more options on how to donate to Ukraine, Charity Navigator has all the information you need.

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