22.06.2010 | Halya Coynash

UEFA concerned over events around Gorky Park in Kharkiv


The Director of Euro 2012 Martin Callen has addressed an official letter to the Ukrainian Government asking it to investigate the situation which has arisen around Gorky Park in Kharkiv. The UNIAN Information Agency says that it has a copy of the letter, addressed to Deputy Prime Minister on Euro 2012 Issues Boris Kolesnikov.

Mr Callen points out that the situation over the felling of trees in Gorky Park by the Kharkiv authorities has received international public. UEFA has, for example, been approached by the Bulgarian Association for Environmental Control, the Czech Republic Centre for Transport and Energy, as well as the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine. He stresses that since the situation could have an adverse impact on the image of Euro 2012 they would like to draw Mr Kolesnikov’s attention to the issue and asks to be informed of specific measures taken to improve the situation.  .

The “situation” arose after the decision taken by the City Council on 19 May to fell more than 503 trees in Kharkiv’s Gorky Park.  Workmen were sent to begin felling the next day, with no safety precautions in place, nor any permits, environmental impact assessment or other legal grounds for this action.  More information can be found in Lawless Start to Euro 2012  The Minister of Internal Affairs’ JUSTIFICATION of the authorities’ lawless behaviour and failure to condemn the extraordinary behaviour by the police in helping to crush peaceful assembly is reported here:

On Friday 18 June Amnesty International issued a statement expressing strong concern over the behaviour of the Kharkiv authorities and declaring two peaceful protesters prisoners of conscience. 

This is the first time since 2004 that Ukraine has prisoners of conscience

The imitation of public discussion orchestrated by the Kharkiv authorities on Saturday 19 June over further plans together with a video clip is described here:   A translation of part of the video clip is available at:

We could mention vague remarks and promises to “look into the situation” by people in very high places. As yet there would seem little point since there has been no evidence of any real intention to investigate the situation and bring those responsible for lawless and sometimes criminally dangerous behaviour by the Kharkiv authorities to answer.

We hope that this letter and the appeal sent to the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner ( - signatures here ) will have some impact on the authorities and encourage them to take proper measures.  We can assure them that the negative publicity will not be stifled by any other means.

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