As European and US leaders double down on diplomatic efforts to avert a war with Russia, Mayor Vitali Klitschko of Kyiv has called for international support and has already taken steps to approve an emergency plan in the event of military aggression.
The former heavyweight boxer is pulling no punches. “Fuel reserves have been created and electric generators have been installed to operate uninterruptedly in an emergency situation,” he is reported as saying.
In addition, 1,500 shelters stand ready, reserves of water are also full, and 13,500 troops already deployed in the city.
In response to the ongoing situation, Eurocities mayors including from Florence and Leipzig, Tallinn and Warsaw, all twinned cities with Kyiv, say they stand in solidarity.
In a letter penned jointly by members of Eurocities Executive Committee, the mayors expressed solidarity to all Ukrainian people and to Eurocities member cities Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa.
“As Eurocities, we firmly support all efforts being made by international leaders towards dialogue and a diplomatic solution,” reads the letter.
The mayors expressed their belief in the need to conform to democratic values, and shared a commitment to work with Ukrainian cities in their bilateral relations.
The timing of the Russia-Ukraine crisis couldn’t be worse, coming as it does on the heels of the two-year long Covid19 pandemic that means thousands of people across the region, and across Europe, are facing crippling economic and social hardship.
Dario Nardella, President of Eurocities and Mayor of Florence, said:
“Our cities have shared much over the years. Thanks to our twinning with the city of Kyiv, we have enriched each other through constant exchanges as cities of art and culture. Only one year ago I welcomed Mayor Vitali Klitschko to Florence where he presented a gift from the people of Kyiv, a bronze statue of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, which now sits proudly in one of our central squares. It is thanks to connections like these that we know about the power of city-to-city cooperation across borders, and we stand in solidarity with our friends in Ukraine.”
Rafał Trzaskowski Mayor of Warsaw, said:
“Since 1991, when Ukraine declared independence, Poland has consistently supported it. We were the first to recognise the independence of our neighbours, and we have always supported their freedom, democratic and pro-Western ambitions. Today, in the face of the threat that our neighbours are facing once again, we cannot be indifferent. This is the time when we must show our solidarity. We strongly believe that Kiev is and will continue to be a free city, a proud city, a city of free people. And above all, we are sending our friends from Kiev and all over Ukraine a loud, clear signal of solidarity. We are with you!”
Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, said:
“Braga supports our friends from Ukraine in this difficult period and wishes to continue to work with them to promote democracy, freedom and friendly relations. We have a very important community of Ukrainian people here in Braga and are twinned with the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, so we know we all share the same European values. Let´s be confident peace and international cooperation will prevail.”
You can read the full letter here.