Nine killed in Ukraine hotel fire

Nine people were killed in a hotel fire in Ukraine’s port city of Odessa on Saturday, leading authorities to launch a country-wide inspection of safety regulations in holiday resorts and hotels.

The fire broke out at 1.34 am (2234 GMT) in the southern city’s Tokyo Star hotel.

Emergency services initially said eight people had died and ten were injured, later saying the number of deaths rose to nine.

Some 65 firefighters backed by 13 emergency vehicles put out the blaze three hours later.

In a statement on his Facebook page, President Volodymyr Zelensky said four of those injured were in a critical condition.

Odessa authorities said around 150 people were evacuated from the area.

‘Criminal negligence’

Police opened a criminal investigation into possible violations of fire safety requirements and the causes of the fire were being established.

“We lost eight lives overnight,” Zelensky said on Facebook.

“And this is not due to war and shelling. It is because of criminal negligence, neglect of elementary safety standards and neglect towards human life.”

Zelensky added he would “personally make sure” that those responsible are punished “in accordance with the norms of the law.”

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, also writing on his Facebook page, said he ordered a “large-scale inspection of holiday places, primarily hotels and resorts” in the country following the incident.

Odessa is a Black Sea port, 475 kilometres (300 miles) south of Ukraine’s capital Kiev. 

The seaside town also attracts summer tourists.

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