Zelensky tells US mayors to end their twin city ties with Russia

RENO, Nev. – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky denounced several American cities for having sister cities in Russia during a video speech at the meeting of the Conference of Mayors of the United States on Friday.

Mr. Zelensky, who spoke at the mayors’ rally right after Vice President Kamala Harris, criticized Chicago; Jacksonville, Florida; Portland, Oregon; San Diego and San Jose, California for maintaining ties with sister cities in Russia. He said those relationships should be terminated.

“What do those bonds give you? Probably nothing, “said Mr. Zelensky.” But they allow Russia to say that she is not isolated. “

Chicago announced earlier this year that it was Suspensionbut not definitively, its relationship with the twin city Flyeffective since 1997. Local outlets in San Jose reported Earlier this year, the leaders of the city decided to do so to maintain a twin city relationship with Ekaterinburg, Russia. From Friday, the websites for the programs of the twin cities in Portland, San Diego Other Jacksonville went on to list Russian partners.

Many American municipalities have twin town relationships in different countries. While partnerships may include business and political exchanges, relationships are largely symbolic and are sometimes administered by local non-profit organizations.

But Mr. Zelensky, who spoke to mayors 100 days after Russia invaded his country, said it was wrong to give Russia even the slightest bit of extra credibility.

“Don’t make excuses; not to have relations with Russia, ”said Zelensky, whose speech received applause from the mayors and employees of the city who had gathered in Reno, Nev. “And please don’t let those who have become murderers call your cities their sister cities.”

Portland officials referenced a statement from Sister Cities International urging cities not to sever ties with their Russian partners. Officials from other American cities named by Mr. Zelensky did not immediately respond to requests for comment.