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Mayors signing the Declaration, Source: Remigijus Šimašius on Facebook

21 mayors sign Declaration condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

21 mayors sign Declaration condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius initiated the Declaration at the Second Forum of Mayors 2022 in Geneva after the speech of a Russian diplomat

Earlier this week (4-6 April), political leaders from free world cities came together at the Second Forum of Mayors 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. Ahead of the Forum, the Mayor of Lithuania’s capital, Remigijus Šimašius, took a clear stand against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, putting pressure on organisers to remove Russian and Belarussian mayors from the Forum.

In a press release, the City of Vilnius reported that the mayor further expressed his support for Ukraine by walking out of the Forum when a Russian diplomat allegedly gave a ‘defamatory speech’ about Ukrainian authorities. Agreeing with Mayor Šimašius, numerous other leaders followed suit.

What is more, they proceeded to sign a Declaration initiated by the Lithuanian mayor, condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This declaration clearly states that while the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) conference allows leaders to share experience on how to improve cities, Europe’s priority must now be Ukraine.

Vowing to support Ukraine

By signing the Declaration, 21 mayors from various cities call on Russia and Belarus to cease their aggression and urge all international institutions to use their powers to stop the war. In addition to this, they invite cities, states, and international institutions to contribute to the rebuilding of Ukrainian cities and vow to support Ukrainian municipalities and civil society.

“Today, I am very glad that the majority of mayors from the free world cities backed up my principled stand to prevent Russia from exploiting the Forum for its own deceitful purposes. Russia’s intention to achieve a quick win in Geneva was met with a firm rebuttal,” Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius shared in a press release.

The leaders who signed the Declaration are mayors from cities in Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Georgia, Slovakia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Romania, Estonia, Ghana and Canada, among others.

Read the Declaration and view the list of signatories here.

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