Oxford Liberal Democrats call for solidarity with the people of Perm opposing their government's abhorrent actions. We should maintain our support for them while our formal twinning relationship is suspended.
We are appalled by the attack on Ukraine, which impacts on our city through our twinning arrangement with the Russian city of Perm.
The links between Oxford and Perm have built up over a long period. There are ties of real friendship and shared memories between our citizens.
One of the members of the Oxford-Perm Association writes:
"All the communications that I have had in recent days are from people who are sickened, and desperately saddened by the attack on Ukraine. Some have risked their liberty by openly protesting and sharing their views on social media. I know that these people and millions who share their views greatly value the crumb of comfort that comes from knowing that out there in the free world there are people that know they exist and recognise their struggle to make a difference and know that they are not entirely alone.
"Obviously a strong international stand needs to be taken against the invasion of Ukraine and we are all part of that. In respect of civil society links, it is entirely appropriate to suspend formal contacts whilst hostilities continue and until a peace settlement brokered. I do hope that the result is the reinstatement of a free and democratic Ukraine. A suspension would be in line with other countries' links with Perm and the view taken about Russia’s involvement by the Council of Europe."
We want to express our solidarity with the people of Perm, in contradistinction to their national government and military-industrial complex, and we call for renewed supportive links with community groups and with individuals in Perm whom we have come to know and value.
We welcome citizens of all countries to Oxford, including Russians who abhor the action of their government, some of whom have suffered harassment and intimidation in recent days. This has included schoolchildren.
We condemn the actions of Russia in the Ukraine absolutely but that does not change our resolve to maintain our friendship with the people of Perm.
Lib Dem City Leader & Deputy Leader