York is set to adopt Lviv as a sister city in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people as their country continues to come under heavy attack by the Russian army.
Councillors want to extend their support after the mayor of the city, Andriy Sadovyi, visited York in November to discuss shared cultural, economic and local government links.
In a motion titled York Stands With Ukraine, Liberal Democrat Cllr Darryl Smalley will ask councillors if they want to start the process of becoming a sister city.
There have already been several symbolic displays of support for Ukraine across York, including lighting the city in blue and yellow, flying the Ukrainian flag and the organising of support rallies.
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.”
York has twin and sister city relationships with Dijon, in France, the German city of Munster and Nanjing in China, as well as a ‘temporal twinning’ with the tenth century Viking settlement of Jorvik, the foundation upon which the modern city is built.
An official twinning with Lviv was not considered appropriate currently as the process takes more time and work than creating a sister city relationship.
Executive member for culture, leisure and communities Cllr Smalley’s motion reads: “York stands with Ukraine and its people in their fight to maintain democracy and self-determination as a nation, those affected locally with relatives caught up in the hostilities having to escape the war, and with those Russians who are not responsible for this war, many of whom bravely speak out against it.”
The council is working closely with partners and charities across the city to provide information and support, including supporting City of Sanctuary to provide a locally-based Ukraine support group for Ukrainians in York.
York City of Sanctuary said over the weekend that they had received more than 200 offers of accommodation and help for Ukraine’s refugees.
Work has also begun with Migration Yorkshire to set in place the necessary preparations for welcoming refugees from Ukraine.
As part of the motion, the council is also set to continue flying the Ukrainian flag from the Mansion House, call on the York and North Yorkshire Local Government Pension Fund to divest itself of any Russian interests and call on the Government to ensure an open a simple, fast and safe route for refugees to come to the UK.
The motion is one of several to be debated at Thursday’s meeting of Full Council.
The Labour motions are about ending fuel poverty in York and ending the controversial employment practice of fire and rehire.
The Liberal Democrats are also proposing a motion about addressing York’s dental crisis.