Council sends letter to Russian twin – Coventry City Council
Coventry City Council has sent a letter to its Russian twin city of Volgograd to say that twinning links have been paused because of the ‘devastating invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Government’
The Council unanimously agreed to take the action at a recent meeting, as Members condemned the Russian actions in invading Ukraine and pledged their support to refugees of the conflict.
Councillors have stressed the suspension is a show of protest against the actions of President Putin and his government, and not against the people of Volgograd.
Coventry and Volgograd were the world’s first twin cities. They first came together in the Second World War when the city was known as Stalingrad and have worked together ever since for peace and reconciliation around the world.
The letter states the action to suspend links has been taken ‘with a heavy heart’ and expresses hope for a time in the future when the relationship can be rebuilt.
Cllr George Duggins, Leader of the Council, said: “The decision has not been taken lightly, but all councillors felt that we could not continue our relationship with Volgograd when the Russian government is causing the deaths of innocent people in Ukraine and is causing so much pain and suffering.
“We know many people in Russia are opposed to this terrible war and we applaud their bravery, and as a city of peace and reconciliation we felt it right that the city of Coventry should take a stand and repeat our call for an end to hostilities.”
Cllr Gary Ridley, Leader of the Conservative Opposition, added: “It’s so sad that we’ve had to pause the relationship with Volgograd but under the circumstances it’s the right decision. I hope the people of that city will realise why we have taken this action and that they will add their voices to the call for peace.”
The Council has also pledged to explore the possibility of future twinning with the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which has been devastated by weeks of relentless attacks.
The letter to Volgograd reads:
“I write to advise you that, with a heavy heart, Coventry City Council has taken the decision to pause our twinning links with the City of Volgograd.
A cross-party resolution has been unanimously passed that condemns without reservation the devastating invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Government, led by President Putin, which is causing so much suffering, death and destruction to the Ukrainian people. It is, therefore, not possible to maintain our relationship in these appalling circumstances.
This decision has not been taken lightly. Coventry values its friendships with communities around the world, many of whom share experience of war, and we are particularly aware that the link with Volgograd is recognised around the world as the start of the international twinning movement.
However, with this long history comes responsibility. As a city of peace and reconciliation we express in the strongest terms our opposition to the war which is being waged against democracy, is killing innocent children, women and men and is destroying towns, cities and communities across Ukraine.
While we stand firmly beside the people of Ukraine, we do also recognise that in the face of misinformation and at great risk to themselves there are brave Russian people protesting and demonstrating against the war and our thoughts are with them too.
I enclose the motion which was adopted unanimously at the meeting of full Council on Tuesday 22 March 2022 and explains our position.
The process of healing and reconciliation will be long and hard in the light of the atrocities being committed, but we do hope for a time in the future when the situation may allow us to consider starting to rebuild a new relationship.”
The discussion on Ukraine at the recent Full Council meeting is available to view on the Council website at www.coventry.gov.uk