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Cincinnati leaders, local Ukrainians reinforce commitment to support Ukraine

Cincinnati leaders, local Ukrainians reinforce commitment to support Ukraine (WKRC)
Cincinnati leaders, local Ukrainians reinforce commitment to support Ukraine (WKRC)
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CINCINNATI (WKRC) – One year after Russian invaded Ukraine, Cincinnati city leaders, elected leaders, and local Ukrainians are reinforcing their commitment to the war-torn country.

They gathered at City Hall Friday to share successes from the past year and what more needs to be done to help Cincinnati’s sister city of 33 years, Kharkiv, as well as other places across Ukraine.

A full year, full of anxieties hard pain, lots of events, sleepless nights, worries about our relatives and loved ones in Ukraine, but the war is not over," said Alina Zilbergerts, founder of Hope4Ukraine. "We all know that and therefore we should continue our efforts or activities to help people in Ukraine.

Mayor Aftab Pureval made a point to say the gathering was not just symbolic, but a way to show the people of Kharkiv, and all of Ukraine, that they're supported.

Congressman Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) says it’s important for the US to invest in whatever it takes to get Russia out of Ukraine.

He says the only way to defeat Vladimir Putin is to keep supporting Ukraine.

At least two local Ukrainian groups were founded in response to the war.

Hope4Ukraine and Cincy4Ukraine have both raised thousands of dollars and sent tons of supplies to hospitals, first responders, orphanages, and more across Ukraine.

Some of that money allowed them to send a fully-equipped ambulance.

This gives us strength that shows our friends, family, and those who don't even know us in Ukraine, what America can do for you," said Evgenia Nemirovska De Santos, president of Cincy4Ukraine. "It means that people here are standing for them.

Bob Herring with the Cincinnati-Kharkiv Sister City Partnership says Kharkiv would like to see a delegation from Cincinnati make a visit, though, he says, conversations are in preliminary stages.

A big reason to go would be to sign a new partnership agreement, which expired in 2022, in the middle of the war.

Mayor Pureval says there's never been a more important time for Cincinnati to reaffirm its support for Kharkiv and the people of Ukraine. He says he would support sending a delegation to Kharkiv, though conditions on the ground would be a deciding factor.

“They feel a visit from Cincinnati to Kharkiv would do much the same in terms of boosting morale, encouraging folks, letting them know that they’re not forgotten,” said Herring.

Cincy4Ukraine says there are at least 3,000 Ukrainians currently living in Cincinnati.

However, it's not clear how many refugees have come to Cincinnati since the war started.

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A candlelight vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Wyoming Presbyterian Church to remember those still in Ukraine, the refugees scattered across the world, and those who have lost their lives.

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