York adopts Lviv as a sister city to ‘reaffirm our support for the brave people of Ukraine’
York has a new sister city – Lviv in Ukraine.
City of York Council unanimously approved the motion to adopt the war-torn city as its sibling at Full Council last night (Wednesday).
The motion, proposed by the Liberal Democrats, asked the council to to reaffirm its commitment to stand with Ukraine, welcome those fleeing the war to our city and support Ukrainians and those affected directly by the war.
Now the process of adopting Lviv as York’s sister city begins, with the drawing up of a memorandum of understanding.
Cllr Darryl Smalley proposed the motion, saying:
In what are incredibly dark times, it has been heartening to see York’s response as the city has come together to show our support and solidarity with our Ukrainian friends here in York and in Ukraine.
From donations and heart-warming signs of solidarity to housing refugees, it’s clear that we as a city are united and ready to do all we can to stand with Ukraine and its people.
We hope that this motion will serve as a small act of solidarity to reaffirm our support for the brave people of Ukraine.
Since its creation in 1956, Sister Cities International has worked to create global relationships based on cultural, educational, information and trade exchanges, leading to “lifelong friendships that provide prosperity and peace through person-to-person citizen diplomacy.”
Coun David Carr revealed during the debate that his father was a Polish soldier who fought with the British army in World War Two before settling in Britain.
“I therefore feel the bloodied and twisted hand of Eastern European geopolitics and Russian imperialism gripping my shoulder probably tighter than most in this room,” he said.
“Whatever we as a city and as a country can do to aid the victims there and disrupt this latest brutal, mendacious and pointless piece of Russian adventurism receives my fullest support.”
The Labour group backed the motion, but Coun Fiona Fitzpatrick said they felt there was an “an element of virtue signalling on the part of the administration in pursuing a twinning arrangements at this very difficult time”.
Lviv’s mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, visited York in November to discuss shared cultural, economic and local government links, but Coun Fitzpatrick said more thought could have gone into choosing which city to adopt as a sister city.
She said: “It does not necessarily follow that they should be the city we suddenly extend a twinning invitation to. All the appropriate criteria involved in the twinning process should have been completed before a rushed announcement. For example, there are cities in the east of Ukraine desperately in need.”
An official twinning with Lviv was not considered appropriate currently as the process takes more time and work than creating a sister city relationship.
Additional reporting: Joe Cooper, York local democracy reporter