Nottingham City Council has severed links with Krasnodar in Russia and Minsk in Belarus in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, has written to officials in both cities to explain the decision, taking immediate effect, which is “borne out of our unwillingness to be associated with both the Russian and Belarusian governing bodies and is not a reflection on the people of Minsk or Krasnodar.”
Nottingham and Minsk chose to twin in the late 1950s in part to recognise how Minsk suffered in the Second World War, when over 90% of the city was destroyed. The twinning agreement came at a time when there was a fear of a nuclear war between the USSR and the west. Nottingham played a significant role in bringing relief and help to the children of Minsk who were poisoned by the nuclear fallout from the accident in Chernobyl.
Both Krasnodar and Nottingham are twinned with Karslruhe which led to initial connections between the cities before this was formalised as a twinning arrangement in 2010. The aim behind the agreement was for the cities to discuss and explore any economic, cultural and civic benefits.
The council hasn’t had active links with Minsk or Krasnodar for many years, but the twinning agreements have remained in place and some community connections and exchanges have continued over the years. The only active twinning arrangements Nottingham currently has in place are with Karlsruhe and Ningbo.
Nottingham City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “We have deep concern at the unfolding events in Ukraine and we cannot stand by as Russian military aggression, supported by Belarus, continues unchecked. We have watched the unfolding news in dismay as Russian troops disregard the independent sovereignty of Ukraine and the city of Nottingham will stand in solidarity with Ukraine and their absolute right to national self-determination. Nottingham City Council has therefore taken the decision to sever the union with both Krasnodar in Russia and Minsk in Belarus.
“The severance of ties is borne out of our unwillingness to be associated with both the Russian and Belarusian governing bodies and is not a reflection on the people of Minsk or Krasnodar. It is true that cities such as ours reached out beyond the borders of Europe in the aftermath of the atrocities which ripped apart families, cities and countries throughout the 20th century – the actions taken by Russia are surely a regressive act which will stifle the Russian and Belarusian people who rightly deserve much more from their leaders.”