Victoria council votes to suspend twin city relationship with Khabarovsk, Russia

Victoria council votes to suspend twin city relationship with Khabarovsk, Russia
Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News

Victoria council has voted to suspend its twin city relationship with Khabarovsk, Russia due to the war in Ukraine.

In the discussion held Thursday, councillors noted that although citizens of Khabarovsk have been quite outspoken against the war in Ukraine, this is a symbolic gesture council can take to send the message it does not support the Russian government’s actions.

“I feel that this is something we can do, that we should not be having a relationship with the city that is in a country that is involved in an illegal invasion,” said Coun. Stephen Andrew, who put forward the motion.

Initially, the motion called for the relationship to be severed, but a decision was made to change it to suspend, with the idea that once the war is over, the relationship can resume.

Coun. Marianne Alto noted that there have been many in Russia who have denounced the actions of Putin and the Russian government, and showed a video of people in Khabarovsk publicly denouncing the war.

“[The video] is to remind us that connections between people, even people in a profoundly different lens, cultures and regimes can still share stories experience dreams, can still learn from one another and work together and connect in spite of a brutal autocrats rule,” Alto said.

“And it is to remind us that not every Russian is Putin, or supports Putin, that many risked their lives to join the rest of the world in denouncing a tyrant. Public demonstrations in protest of the war against Ukraine have taken place across Russia.”

During committee of the whole, council amended the motion to include a recommendation that the city will write to the mayor of Khabarovsk to explain the rationale behind suspending the twin city relationship.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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