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The World Turns to Airbnb to Help Refugees Amidst War in Ukraine

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Most of the world is on the same page when it comes to the current war in Ukraine. In fact, the European Union’s 28 member countries are united in their disgust over Russia’s violent and devastating invasion of Ukraine in a way few thought was possible. And the biggest country in the world, headed by Vladimir Putin, is being slapped with debilitating sanctions that will hopefully give the Ukrainians who fled the ability to head home soon. Until then, the world is helping in a rather unexpected way: They’re booking Airbnb properties in Ukraine.

In the elite Vozdvizhenka district of Kyiv, several homes are listed on Airbnb, and people around the world are renting them to help fleeing hosts.

Photo: OlyaSolodenkp/Getty Images

Of course, Ukraine isn’t exactly a destination for jet-setters at the moment, but the point of booking on Airbnb wasn’t to take a relaxing vacation in a charming Eastern European dwelling. International users of the vacation booking app quickly snatched up as many Airbnb properties in Ukraine as possible. And when they couldn’t, they urged others to do so on Twitter. The selfless funneling of cash into Ukranians’ hands caught on pretty fast. Even Airbnb decided to waive the guest and host fees, so that the rental money is sent directly to the homeowners and hosts.

And to top it off: Airbnb’s chief executive, Brian Chesky, recently tweeted that the company, at least for the time being, will suspend its business in Russia and Belarus. It’s just one of the hundreds of sanctions Russia has been hit with following the invasion of Ukraine. Whether or not the sanctions will be powerful enough to actually stop Russia in its tracks remains to be seen, but at least they’re making quite a forceful statement. What’s more, Airbnb isn’t stopping at waiving fees and initiating sanctions: They’re also donating up to 100,000 homes for Ukrainian refugees who left their lives behind and fled.

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