By Duncan Mackay

Viktor Yanukovych wavingJune 5 - A bid from Ukraine for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics moved a significant step closer today when President Viktor Yanukovych signed a decree to back the campaign.

His decree, "On Measures to Provide Conditions for the Holding of Winter Olympic and Paralympics in Ukraine, in 2022", called for four cities - Ivano-Frankivsk, Zakarpattia, Lviv and Chernivtsi - to draft plans for a bid as well as an overhaul of the country's sport, infrastructure and tourism laws.

A Bid Committee is to be set up under the control of one of Urkaine's four Vice Prime Ministers.

The bid, which has been discussed seriously since 2010, would be centred around the Carpathians, a range of mountains forming an arc roughly 1,500 kilometres long across Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine.

Carpathians Mountains UkraineThe Carpathians will be at the centre of a Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid for 2022

It is hoped that a successful bid would help breed a new industry of winter tourism in the Carpathians region, ensuring the economic development of Ukraine's western regions.

It is claimed that investors are willing to spend a $1 billion (£646 million/€759 million) in developing the Bukovel ski resort on the development of skiing infrastructure if Ukraine's bid is successful.

Earlier today Oslo's City Council also backed a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics but it still has to be approved by the public in a referendum on September 9.

Poland and Slovakia are discussing a joint bid while Munich is also still considering whether to bid again having been beaten for the 2018 Games by Pyeongchang.

The deadline for National Olympic Committees to submit an application is November 14. 

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