Friend or opponent? The UK cities cutting ties with Russian twins

Coventry, which has voted to suspend its 80-year connection with Volgograd, signsupwith at least 8 other UK councils in severing twinning plans with Russian cities in demonstration at Vladimir Putin’s intrusion of Ukraine.

But Canterbury stays twinned with Vladimir, 120 miles east of Moscow. A representative for Canterbury city council stressedout that the plan had absolutelynothing to do with the council and was the sole duty of the Canterbury Three Cities Association.

The association – which likewise links the city with Bloomington and Bloomington-Normal, Illinois – released a declaration condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. But it included: “We think that to sever links with Vladimir now would be a meaningless gesture, of no aid whatever to the beleaguered individuals of Ukraine.”

For 36 years Glasgow hadactually been twinned with the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, 80 miles east of the Ukrainian border. But hours after the intrusion the plan was suspended by the council leader, Susan Aitken. She stated: “While this is a little thing in the scenarios, Glasgow should signupwith the world in unquestionably condemning the acts of war released on Ukraine by Russia.”

A day after the intrusion, Cheltenham suspended its twinning activities with the Black Sea resort of Sochi. A day lateron Manchester suspended its “friendship plan” with St Petersburg that hadactually gone back to 1962.

County Durham ended 54 years of links with Kostroma, 250 miles north-east of Moscow, in early March. After a week of pressure, on 4 March Oxford city council suspended its twinning with the Russian city of Perm, near the Urals.

Exeter city council voted all to suspend civic links with Yaroslavl, 160 miles north-east of Moscow, on 11 March. And there was likewise consentaneous vote in Perth and Kinross council to end Perth being twinned with the north-western Russian city of Pskov.

Last week Plymouth stated it prepared to end its twinning plan with the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk after citizens of the city’s Novorossiysk Road changed its indication with one reading “Volodymyr Zelensky Road” in homage to the Ukrainian president.

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