Until recently, Ukrainian cities had the municipalities of countries that are waging a full-scale war against our country as their twin or partner cities.
Why shouldn't it be so? Russia's isolation in response to its bloody military aggression against an independent country must be total and comprehensive. Twinning relations are another area where russia has no place with its bloodthirsty cities.
The Transparent Cities program has analyzed who “fraternized” with the cities of the aggressor country and its silent neighbor and contacted these city councils to speed up the termination of these relations. Spoiler alert: we have good news :)
Important! Twinning data are as of May 2. Below we will discuss which cities have already abandoned these ties and which are already in the process of doing so. For the analysis, we took the 100 largest cities of Ukraine from the 2021 Transparency Ranking and checked the official websites of city councils and the media.
Twin cities or sister cities are two cities of different countries, between which agreements on friendship and cooperation were concluded to exchange experience in the field of economy, culture, education, sports, tourism, urban economy management, etc. Obviously, Ukraine does not need any experience of russia and Belarus.
In total, 25 Ukrainian cities have or have had partner or twinning relations with russian or Belarusian cities. 41 Ukrainian cities did not have such ties with russian and Belarusian cities.
It has not been possible to find information about sister cities or partner cities of 31 Ukrainian cities because it is either unavailable on the official website of the council or in the media (21 cities), or the official websites of city councils do not function (10 cities). With Mariupol and Sambir, it was not possible to find sources of information other than the Ukrainian version of Wikipedia.
As of May 2, 11 russian cities had partner or twinning relations with Ukrainian cities. These are barnaul, yeysk, zheleznogorsk, kursk, moscow, novosibirsk, noyabrsk, st. petersburg, and serpukhov, salekhard.
Izmail city council also cooperates with the administration of the lefortovo district (moscow). Kharkiv (with moscow, novosibirsk, and st. petersburg), as well as Mariupol (with yeisk, zheleznogorsk, and barnaul) had 3 ties with russian cities each.
15 Belarusian cities and 5 districts of cities (yes, there are also such twinning formats): Borisov, Braslav, Mozyr, Puchavičy and Slutsky districts had/have twinning relations with Ukrainian cities.
Among the Belarusian cities, most often (2 cases of ties) there are twinning relations with Baranavichy (from where russian fighters very often take off), Brest, Homiel, Grodno, Mozyr (where the corpses of the russian military are often taken) and Pinsk.
Melitopol (Borisovsky and Puchavičy districts), Ternopil (Grodno and Pinsk), Cherkasy (Orsha and Mozyr district) and Kovel (Pinsk and Szczuczyn) had 2 ties with Belarusian cities and districts each.
The record-breaking oblasts for the total number of twinnings with the cities of the rf and Belarus are Kyiv and Volyn: Bila Tserkva, Boyarka, Brovary, Irpin and Kovel, Lutsk, Novovolynsk are still “friends” with Belarusian cities.
Who has already severed twinning ties with russian and Belarusian cities
We appealed to the city councils of cities that still had twinning relations with the rf or Belarus with a request to intensify the process of severing these ties. As of May 25, we have the following results:
- Izmail city council broke off twinning with kursk and lefortovo district,
- Novovolynsk city council broke off twinning with the Belarusian city of Baranavichy,
- Kamianets-Podilskyi city council broke off twinning with Belarusian Polotsk,
- Bila Tserkva city council terminated the cooperation agreement with the Belarusian Borisov,
- Boyarka city council has already ceased cooperation with Belarusian Nesvizh,
- Korosten city council has ceased cooperation with salekhard, noyabrsk and Mozyr,
- Irpin city council will bring up the issue of termination of ties with the Belarusian Maladzyechna at the next meeting,
- Oleksandriia city council has also prepared a draft denunciation (severance) of relations with the Belarusian Mozyr, which will be considered at the next session,
- Chernihiv city council at the next session will consider the issue of breaking partnerships with Homiel,
- Kamianka city council is “in the process” of terminating cooperation with Babruysk.
We have not received a response from the rest of the cities as of this date, but we will wait for news of the termination of their twinning relations as soon as possible.
By the way, earlier, Kryvyi Rih broke off twinning relations with Zhodino, Kharkiv — with belgorod, moscow, nizhny novgorod, novosibirsk and st. petersburg, Myrhorod — with Rechytsa and Smalyavichy, Brovary — with Slutsky district of Belarus, and Ivano-Frankivsk — with Brest.
Kyiv is also in the process of severing twinning relations with Minsk. The relevant draft was registered by MPs of the Holos faction in the Kyiv City Council.
We welcome the conscious decisions of cities to get russia and Belarus off the list of partners and sister cities. Let's not stop ;)
We call on Ukrainian cities to more actively abandon twinning and partnership with cities in russia and Belarus!
Everyone can help our cities get rid of this shameful status: contact the authorities, write petitions, engage civil society organizations and activists of your city. Together, we will get this trash from our country!
UPDATE as of 27.06.2022
At the same time, 4 cities that announced the severance of relations with Belarusian cities: Oleksandriia, Kamianske, and Irpin have not yet managed to vote for the relevant decisions. We expect that this will happen at the upcoming meetings of city councils!
In addition, Zhytomyr and Kovel reported that, although Homiel and Szczuczyn were among the partners and sister cities on the councils' websites, official agreements with them were never signed, and any cooperation was also suspended. It was not possible to find information in the media or on official websites about the termination of friendly relations with the cities of the rf and Belarus for 7 Ukrainian municipalities. Of these, Mariupol, Melitopol, Sievierodonetsk, Kherson, are under occupation or in the zone of active hostilities, and cannot do so now.
We call on the rest of the cities — Ternopil, Cherkasy and Shostka to cease cooperation with their Belarusian partners and sister cities!