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Stamford now sister city with Ukrainian city targeted by 2022 Russian missile strike

A Ukrainian military man says goodbye to his beloved  through a train window on March 22, 2023 in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. Despite active hostilities in the east of the country, Ukrainian soldiers find several days, or even hours, to see their relatives and loved ones. One of the most frequent meeting places is the city of Kramatorsk, which is only 50 km from the front line.
Yan Dobronosov
/
Global Images Ukraine via Getty
A Ukrainian military man says goodbye to his beloved through a train window on March 22, 2023, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. Despite active hostilities in the east of the country, Ukrainian soldiers find several days, or even hours, to see their relatives and loved ones. One of the most frequent meeting places is the city of Kramatorsk, which is only 50 km from the front line.

Stamford, Connecticut, is now a sister city to Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Russia attacked the city’s rail station with a missile strike in 2022 that killed 60 and injured hundreds.

In an act of symbolism, Mayor Caroline Simmons signed a proclamation at the Stamford train station Thursday, declaring the sister city alliance just hours after Kramatorsk’s Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko signed his portion.

Maria walks by the building where she used to live until it was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on March 1, 2023. She was not in her house during the attack, but her son was, and he was badly injured.
Ignacio Marin
/
Anadolu Agency / Getty
Maria walks by the building where she used to live until it was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on March 1, 2023. She was not in her house during the attack, but her son was, and he was badly injured.

The signing comes amid a growth in Stamford’s Ukrainian population. Simmons said the goal is to offer moral support to the country, which continues to fight against the Russian invasion.

“We hope that this sister city relationship will be the start of a symbolic friendship between our two communities and countries", Simmons said. "We are proud to stand here in strong solidarity with the people of Kramatorsk and across Ukraine to stand up for freedom and democracy.”

If every Stamford resident donated $25, it would amount to $3.5 million in aid. That would pay for potentially lifesaving equipment, according to Brian Mayer, executive director of Ukraine Aid International.

“We’ll be able to buy new municipal vehicles like trash trucks, ambulances that have been destroyed or stolen, and we’ll be able to supply the Kramatorsk hospital with an MRI machine,” Mayer said.

Simmons gave credit to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat who represents Stamford, for thinking of the sister city idea.

“Congressman Himes actually reached out to us, because he had connected with Ukraine Aid International,” Simmons said.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who attended the signing, said he met with Ukrainian military leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who were emboldened knowing Americans were offering support to their country.

“President Zelenskyy’s face lights up when we tell him about the Ukrainian community in Connecticut,” Blumenthal said.

Ukrainians have settled down all over Connecticut, especially in Stamford. Simmons said Ukrainian is now the fifth-most spoken language in the city.

“Our Ukrainian community adds so much cultural vibrancy and continues to be a growing population,” Simmons said.

Stamford is now a sister city to at least eight cities around the world. While most of them were connected by cultural and historical bonds, Stamford and Kramatorsk’s status is similar to one of the first cities to enter into a sister city status in the 20th century. Coventry, England, and Stalingrad, now Volgograd, Russia, formed a twin city status in 1944.

Coventry, similar to Stamford, expressed solidarity with Stalingrad after it resisted a German assault widely considered the pivotal battle of World War II.

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