20 May 2022, 11:05
Twin cities helping Ukraine: who and how supports our cities

The whole world has united in helping Ukraine counter full-scale russian aggression. Governments agree on the provision of weapons, adopt packages of sanctions, and support Ukrainian refugees abroad.

The help of partner and twin cities is also important and valuable. Not only do they stop cooperating with russian cities, but they also provide humanitarian support to communities in our country. The Transparent Cities program analyzed how foreign cities help their 25 Ukrainian partners (the first cities in the Transparency Ranking).

Brief conclusions of the study:

  • During the war, the 25 cities studied received humanitarian aid from their partners from abroad 65 times and made this information public.
  • Poland sent the most aid to these cities, followed by Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania. Sometimes they help cities with which they don't even have twinning ties, and sometimes they take aid from their partners in order to transfer it to Ukrainian cities.
  • The largest amount of aid is food — 21% and medicines and medical equipment — 19%.
  • Among the 25 analyzed cities, Lviv has the largest number of cases of receiving “humanitarian aid” — 10, Dubno, Kyiv, and Ternopil — 7 each.

United against war

Foreign cities significantly help their Ukrainian partners by transferring thousands of tons of humanitarian aid. In the first 50 days of the war alone, 3,400 tons were delivered to Lviv. However, not only regional centers receive large amounts of humanitarian aid — for example, Drohobych received 475 tons in 70 days.

As for the amount of aid, the cities of Poland send it the most. Our analysts found information about 35 cases of assistance to Ukrainian cities, which is 71% of all recorded assistance. Aid is also sent by the cities of the Baltic States and Central Europe. The diagram below details information about assistance from twin cities from different countries.


The twin city that most often provided assistance is Giżycko (Poland). From open sources, it was possible to record that the city had sent humanitarian aid to its twin city in Ukraine, Dubno, four times.

The lack of the twinning status is not an obstacle

Even those cities that are not in partnership or twinning relations are ready to help Ukrainian communities. Thus, the Polish cities of Opole and Radom sent Vinnytsia 4 and 8 cargoes of humanitarian aid, respectively.

In addition, some foreign cities ask for help from their twinning cities or partner organizations in order to then transfer it to Ukrainian cities. For example, the Polish city of Giżycko delivered a special fire truck to Dubno, which it had received from its German partner — the city of Querfurt. And Hrubieszów (also Poland), with the assistance of the Amer Pharma company, delivered humanitarian cargo to the Volodymyr City Council.

Moreover, foreign cities are ready to become partners with Ukrainian cities in order to help with the reconstruction and/or solution of humanitarian problems of hromadas. Thus, Zhytomyr has signed agreements with Płock and Malaga, Drohobych with Sable-Sur-Sarthe, Kyiv with Paris and Hamburg, Lviv with Würzburg.

Distribution in Ukraine

Among the 25 Ukrainian municipalities studied, the largest amount of assistance from their partner or twin cities from abroad was received by: Lviv — 10 cases of assistance, Dubno — 7, Kyiv — 7, Ternopil — 7, Khmelnytskyi — 6, Vinnytsia — 4.

In order to effectively organize the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid, humanitarian headquarters and coordination centers are created. Some of them, such those of Drohobych and Zhytomyr, are also located abroad. The humanitarian aid provided concerns both the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (special equipment, sports nutrition, medicines) and the needs of IDPs and the communities where it is delivered. Medicines or medical equipment, as well as food, are sent most often. Moreover, specialized equipment (ambulances or fire engines) and buses (Lviv, Kyiv, Lutsk, Khmelnytskyi) are delivered from abroad.

How we conducted the study

The study was conducted between May 4 and May 12. As a basis for the analysis, we took data from open sources (official websites of city councils, Facebook pages and telegram channels of local self-government bodies, the mayor or their deputies) on the twinning of the TOP-25 most transparent cities of Ukraine according to the results of 2021.

Information on 7 of the above 25 municipalities could not be found in the public domain. Firstly, not all of the cities studied had an operational official website, or it did not function properly. Secondly, not all municipalities detailed information about which cities transferred humanitarian cargoes, the amount of aid provided, or its type. Thirdly, some cities did not publish information about their partnerships with other cities. Therefore, it is not known whether the assistance came from a partner city or a twin city.

Among the studied 25 cities — 12 are regional centers, and the cities themselves represent 16 oblasts. The most represented in the study are Dnipropetrovsk (Dnipro, Kamianske, Nikopol, Pokrov), Lviv (Drohobych, Lviv, Chervonohrad), Ivano-Frankivsk (Ivano-Frankivsk, Kolomyia), Volyn (Lutsk, Volodymyr), and Kyiv (Bila Tserkva, Kyiv) oblasts.

Tips for Ukrainian cities

The study has shown that some cities are creating mechanisms designed to make the process of receiving humanitarian aid more transparent. We advise all municipalities to adhere to these practices in order to minimize corruption risks and to form the image of responsible partners among their twin cities:

How to expand the network of twinning ties?

Cities that do not have partners or have concluded cooperation agreements with a few municipalities are advised to expand such cooperation. We have prepared tips on how to establish partnerships.

✔️ To begin with, it is worth identifying areas of urban governance in which your municipality wants to cooperate with another city — to increase efficiency, modernize, or exchange experience. For example, it can be cooperation with an emphasis on environmental protection or design of green spaces, housing and municipal services activities, creation of e-democracy tools, traffic organization, etc. Or to provide humanitarian assistance, which is relevant in times of war in Ukraine. The decision to establish partnerships with foreign cities can be established by both the city council and the executive committee.

✔️ Next, you need to identify a city that can share experience or help. Of course, it will be best to visit the municipality of this city to better understand in which areas cooperation is possible. However, if a visit is not possible, you can send an initiative letter of intent to cooperate, in particular, with the goal to receive humanitarian assistance. There are no restrictions on choosing a future partner city or twin city, but it is worth focusing on the fact that this should be bilateral cooperation, in which your city should also provide recommendations for effective municipal management.

✔️ The next step is to develop and agree on a draft Twinning or Cooperation Agreement with the city with which you seek to establish partnership ties. The text of the agreement must have an explanatory note justifying the need to establish friendly relations with another city.

✔️ The final stage of establishing communication is that mayors of cities or official delegations sign the relevant documents. And from that moment, the two cities can exchange experience on a specific area of city administration or accept/transfer assistance.

We are grateful to all our partners and friends of Ukraine who help our cities in these difficult times! We are convinced that after the victory, they will help to increase the capacity of cities exchanging experience, attracting specialists, financing and supplying the necessary things (for example, transport or equipment). Therefore, we advise Ukrainian cities to develop a network of partners now and think about the prospect of relations.