Bath & North East Somerset Council has committed to further developing its relationship with the Ukrainian city of Oleksandriya by signing a Friendship Agreement.
A Full Council meeting invited Oleksandriya City Council Mayor, Serhii Kuzmenko, to countersign the Friendship Agreement document which has been drawn up by the two councils.
The document has already been signed on behalf of Bath & North East Somerset Council by leader Cllr Kevin Guy.
Although not legally binding, the friendship agreement will provide a framework to establish and strengthen cultural and other community ties, fostering co-operation based on respect, equality and mutual benefit.
It will also promote awareness between the two communities and identify environmental, social, cultural, educational, health & wellbeing and other opportunities for joint working.
Councillor Kevin Guy said: “This Friendship Agreement will be an important step in strengthening links between our communities. Bath & North East Somerset Council has consistently stood in solidarity with Ukraine following the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022.
Since then, B&NES residents have generously welcomed more than 350 refugees under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme and the council has played a key role alongside local charities and voluntary groups to help those guests integrate into our communities.
This Friendship Agreement will be a commitment to deepen relationships by strengthening and formalising bilateral relationships and promoting co-operation and support between our two councils.”
Oleksandriya is a central Ukraine city with a population of approximately 80,000, located in Kirovohrad Oblast within the Kirovohrad region, roughly 350km from Kyiv.
At the May 2022 Council meeting, the local group Bath Stands with Ukraine proposed a link between Bath & North East Somerset Council and a Ukrainian city similar in population size to Bath.
A council working group collaborated with Oleksandriya City Council and local group Friends of Oleksandriya to develop the agreement, which was finalised over several weeks.
The agreement will promote awareness between the two communities and offer opportunities for joint working in relation to the climate and ecological emergency.
Councillor Chris Dando, chair of the working group said: “I am pleased that our councils have been able to conclude this friendship and cooperation agreement. It cements the growing relationship between our two communities and highlights ways in which we can work together on a range of issues for mutual benefit.”