Following a meeting with a delegation from the Coventry Branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Council Leader George Duggins, Deputy Leader Abdul Salam Khan and Deputy Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities Pervez Akhtar issued the following statement.
On behalf of the City of Coventry, we repeat our condemnation of the actions of the Russian government and call for a swift end to all hostilities and a return to peace.
We also want to reaffirm our support to the people of Ukraine, here in our city and those back in their homeland, and pledge that we will do all we can to offer our city’s help in this hour of need.
As part of that support, we are holding regular meetings with Ukrainian representatives to discuss new ways in which we can help the people of Ukraine, in practical terms and political ones.
We were able to tell the delegation that at the meeting of the Labour Group on 7 March, members agreed that when the time was right Coventry would ‘twin’ with a city in Ukraine.
We have a proud history of building links with others who have faced the horrors of war and helping them to rebuild and find peace and friendship once more, and we will be honoured to do so with a Ukrainian city.
This would be a way for all the people of Coventry to add their support, whether that is through links between schools, faith centres, businesses, or other organisations, and we know that the people of our city would welcome that opportunity.
We have also agreed that Coventry would send a formal letter to our Russian twin city of Volgograd.
We recently announced that we would be keeping our twinning links with that city open, as we believe that is the way to build peace and understanding. We will now use our friendship with the people of Volgograd to tell them of our horror at the war being waged by their Government, and the many thousands of lives being lost.
We will tell them of our support for Ukraine, and also of our support for those brave people in Russia who dare to challenge the government and add their voices to the call for peace. In doing so, we will urge the people of Volgograd to join that call and do all they can to bring an end to this war.
Our city’s thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, with those we have lost and with their loved ones, and with those who continue to face such unimaginable horrors, and we thank the Ukrainian people of our city for working with us, building links and showing such patience and dignity in such terrible times.
As a city of peace and reconciliation, we will continue to work with our friends from Ukraine and never cease in that work until there is a return to peace.