Ukraine mayor denies his city is anti-Semitic

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The mayor of Lviv has brushed off media allegations of racism in Ukraine and dismissed a call by a Jewish human rights group to avoid some restaurants in the city on the grounds they are anti-Semitic.

Lviv is one of four Ukrainian cities to host matches in Euro 2012. In the run-up to the football tournament, German media reports mentioned supporters of local soccer team Karpaty Lviv, who have been known to brandish Nazi flags at games.

Mayor Andriy Sadovyi bristled yesterday when asked about the reports and a call from international Jewish human rights organisation the Simon Wiesenthal Center for fans to boycott two restaurants.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry: these restaurants are an attraction but there was never any anti-Semitism and there won’t be,” he told a news conference.

One of the restaurants offers diners black hats with artificial sidelocks to make them look like religious Jews. There are no prices on the menu and customers are expected to haggle.

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