Aerial view of Sofia and Mykhailivska squares in Kyiv

European mayors show support for Ukraine

European mayors show support for Ukraine

City authorities in neighbouring countries were quick to offer refuge to people fleeing the military conflict

Hundreds of European mayors have expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine as the country was invaded by Russian forces from several sides earlier today, 24 February. And while the actions mostly remain limited to social media declarations condemning the Russian aggression, several local authorities from EU countries neighbouring Ukraine have shown what real solidarity looks like.

Support for Ukraine takes different forms

Mayors of European cities, large and small, were quick to comment on the situation in Ukraine, which is currently under attack from Russian military forces, which constitutes the largest war in Europe in 70 years.

Collectively, EU cities and regions, represented by the European Committee of the Regions have expressed solidarity and called for the respect of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

CoR President Apostolos Tzitzikostas firmly condemned the Russian military actions, also saying that there “is no place for revanchist rhetoric calls for return to the Soviet Union in today's world where European nations and people are free.”

In a gesture of moral support, many cities have been raising the flag of Ukraine and lighting up key buildings in blue and yellow, among which the capitals Prague, Budapest, Stockholm and Paris.

Yesterday evening, City Hall of Paris was lit up with the colours of Ukrainian flag, as Anne Hidalgo met ambassador Vadym Omelchenko.

And while Ukrainians have already begun fleeing Kyiv to Western parts of the country, the question remains open on where it is safe to stay in the current unpredictable situation. Luckily, a small consolation comes from authorities in the neighbouring countries, who offered support in different kinds – from donations of food and medicines to providing refuge.

Poland’s second city Krakow, where almost one hundred thousand Ukrainians live, is already looking into various possibilities to accommodate their friends and families, as well as to send donations, as Mayor Jacek Majchrowski informed on Facebook. A similar statement was made by Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski back on Tuesday, as he also appealed to national forces to show unity in bringing all support to Ukraine as “national security has no political colour.”

Poland’s Rzeszow – located some 100 kilometres away from the border with Ukraine - has already designated several gyms and an exhibition centre as emergency accommodations, in case the situation escalates.

Later on, the mayors of the largest polish cities, united under Polish Metropolitan Union announced their readiness to accept refugees. According to Washington Post, Polish officials are foreseeing as many as 1 million refugees from Ukraine in case of a full-scale invasion by Russia.

Borderline regions such as Suceava in Romania also declared readiness to take in refugees, should the need arise, as we reported earlier. Alternatively, Latvia’s Jelgava and Slovakia’s capital Bratislava declared they will be allocating financial means to support their twin cities in Ukraine and humanitarian actions.

National governments are currently debating large-scale actions in support for Ukraine, while the European institutions are expected to meet later today, to discuss a new portion of sanctions against Russia. Effective as this might have, the current crisis is yet another occasion where local action has proven faster and more efficient in crucial times.



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