The United Nations has criticized Russia for ignoring the ecological impact of construction projects for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. UNEP says government assessments do not take into account the effects the various projects will have on the region’s unique wildlife. The report is based on the U.N. program’s three-day trip to Sochi, Russia’s dated Black Sea resort, in January. It is under the spotlight as the next Winter Olympics host. As constructors set about building all facilities from scratch, environmental activists say the ecosystems have already sustained irreversible damage and bird and bear habitats have been destroyed. The government says it is aware of the concerns and accuses the activists of trying to sabotage the games as a public relations stunt. The Sochi Games are a pet project of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined immediate comment, saying he hadn’t seen the UNEP report. (AP)

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