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WWF Says Sochi Games Not Green

With the Olympics under way in Vancouver, an activist group says environmental concerns are going unheeded in the push to prepare Sochi to host the next Winter Games in 2014.

The World Wildlife Fund’s local branch said nature reserves’ borders had been changed, access for nongovernmental groups had been curbed, and calls for closer monitoring of the environmental impact had gone unheeded.

“The losses to the environment are already significant,” said Igor Chestin, WWF’s local head. “Whatever is done, these will not be ‘green games,’ but we can at least minimize further damage.”

WWF helped create a coordinating council linking activists with Olimpstroi, but it has suspended its participation because the council’s decisions had not been implemented, Chestin said.

Olimpstroi spokeswoman Alexandra Kosterina disputed the complaints, saying many of the proposals had been or would be implemented.

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