In 2-day spree, 61K users book Airbnb stays in Ukraine with no plans to go

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Partial ceasefire collapses as countries trade blame'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Partial ceasefire collapses as countries trade blame
A partial ceasefire to allow for more than 200,000 civilians to flee the fighting in Ukraine collapsed just hours after being agreed upon, and now Russia and Ukraine are trading blame. Ukraine says the deal involving the communities of Mariupol and Volnovakha were breached, but Russia has accused Ukrainian "nationalists" of preventing civilians of leaving. David Akin reports on the latest developments. – Mar 5, 2022

Airbnb customers are showing their solidarity with the Ukrainian people by booking reservations that they don’t plan on using.

An influx of bookings in the besieged country has raised $2 million for local residents in about a week, the San Francisco-based home rental company says (U.S. dollars).

In recent days, the campaign has picked up even more steam on social media, resulting in 61,000 bookings in just 48 hours last Tuesday and Wednesday, an Airbnb spokesperson said.

More than 34,000 of those nights were booked by U.S. users, while 3,000 bookings came from Canada and 8,000 from the United Kingdom.

Click to play video: 'Ukrainians resist as Russia hammers major cities'
Ukrainians resist as Russia hammers major cities

Airbnb has confirmed it has temporarily waived its guest and hosting fees for bookings in Ukraine.

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Ukraine is in the 11th day of the Russian invasion, and shelling around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has intensified as Russian troops close in on the city. About 1.5 million refugees are believed to have fled the country so far.

Alongside the monetary donations, comments from international donors have begun appearing under Ukrainian rental listings.

“We hope our rental helps in some way. Praying for Ukraine,” wrote Amanda, from Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, on a listing in the historic downtown suburb of Pechersk, Kyiv.

“Thanks for your help we start to help people, army, children,” the rental owner replied.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: NATO refuses to implement no-fly zone as Zelenskyy pleads with U.S. lawmakers'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: NATO refuses to implement no-fly zone as Zelenskyy pleads with U.S. lawmakers

In reply to a comment from a user named Cynthia, from Texas, in the U.S., a listing owner named Andrey in Kyiv wrote: “Thank you very much that at the moment when Putin attacked our country and we are at war, you did not remain indifferent and found a way to help us by paying for accommodation without intending to live with us.

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“It is very expensive you are a person with a big and kind heart! Thanks to you, we feel that the whole world is with us! All members of my family are very grateful to you.”

Airbnb on Thursday became the latest big global firm to halt operations in Russia as western sanctions build against Moscow for the Ukrainian war.

Chief executive Brian Chesky tweeted the suspension, which also includes Russian ally Belarus.

Airbnb has also launched an initiative to provide housing for refugees fleeing the war, with half a million visitors visiting the webpage to contribute.

“We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community during this moment of crisis,” a spokesperson said.


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