Leeds to twin with heavily-shelled Ukrainian city Kharkiv in 'act of solidarity'
Leeds is set to be twinned with the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, in an act of solidarity following the Russian invasion.
Kharkiv, which is the north-east of Ukraine, has been shelled repeatedly since the start of the war in February.
Leeds councillors unanimously agreed to explore forging a partnership with Kharkiv at a meeting on Wednesday, following recent talks between the two local authorities.
Kharkiv also shares twin city status with Lille and Brno, two of Leeds’ twin cities.
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The Leeds Together for Ukraine appeal, launched earlier this year, has already raised more than £140,000 to help refugees forced from their homes.
“In time we will hopefully be able to move this forward as a meaningful partnership between our two cities.”
Built in the 17th century, Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city after the capital, Kiev.
Since the outbreak of the war, around a third of Kharkiv's 1.4 million residents have been evacuated from their homes.
Although large parts of the city have been destroyed, some people have begun returning to their homes but are facing fuel and water shortages.
Supporting the idea to twin the cities, Conservative Opposition leader, Andrew Carter, said: “I was going to say I had the pleasure of supporting this but pleasure is the wrong word.
“You can’t use the word ‘pleasure’ when the people in Ukraine and in Kharkiv have suffered in ways we can only imagine and the horrible consequences of an unprovoked invasion of their land.”