The City of Edinburgh Council has welcomed a delegation of representatives from Kyiv City Council for a three-day visit.
The delegation, which included Viktoriia Mukha, Maryna Ratova and Serhii Anzhyiak from the Culture and Tourism departments, exchanged views with the Lord Provost and Council Leader on Ukrainian and Scottish culture, the current situation in Kyiv and Edinburgh’s response to the crisis. They also thanked the city for welcoming Ukrainians fleeing from war.
During the trip, the group were provided with a tour of the City Chambers, Assembly Rooms and the Usher Hall. They discussed the possibility of hosting a joint art exhibition in Edinburgh in 2023 to highlight the culture, architecture, and beauty of the city of Kyiv, which has been devastated this year during Russian strikes. The delegation also met with members of the Scottish Government, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Usher Hall, Assembly Rooms, the Council’s Culture and Tourism teams and the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain Edinburgh (AUGB Edinburgh).
Viktoriia Mukha, member of Kyiv City Council’s Culture and Tourism department, said:
“Our cities have been twinned for over 30 years and despite the distance between Edinburgh and Kyiv, we have found our cities to be very similar sharing common values. Both are steeped in history, boast UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and have acted as hubs for science, culture, music and education.
“Over these last 10 very difficult months, thanks to the people in this city, Edinburgh is now a home from home for so many Ukrainians. It has been reassuring to see first-hand the support which is in place for people, and we are very grateful for Edinburgh’s response, which has been incredible. Thank you for helping our displaced people find a home.
“As a member of the culture and tourism department, we have also enjoyed seeing incredible venues during our visit, like the Usher Hall and the Assembly Rooms. There is a lot of work we hope to achieve together, to keep Kyiv in people’s hearts and minds and to build on our cultural ties even further in the New Year.”
The Rt Hon Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge, said:
“The courage of the Ukrainian people this year has been incredible, and it was my honour to welcome members of Kyiv City Council to see our city – the place where so many Ukrainians and people from Kyiv now call home.
“As twin cities we have a long working relationship and Edinburgh and Kyiv have many similarities. Early in the crisis we answered the city’s call to ship over sandbags, to help the City Council to protect monuments and other artworks. Since then, we have remained in close contact. We have donated further sandbags and deliveries of food during Kyiv’s time of need, and we are of course supporting thousands of people who have come to Scotland to seek safety.
“It is heart-breaking how this beautiful Capital city has been shattered, but it is clear to the world that despite the devastation the city has experienced the spirit of Kyiv’s people is unbreakable. As a result of this visit, I hope we can work together on an exhibition to highlight the lasting strength and beauty of Kyiv and its people.”
City of Edinburgh Council Leader, Cammy Day, said:
“I’m so proud of the way our residents, our volunteers and everyone around Edinburgh has opened their doors and their hearts to people from Ukraine this year.
“It’s been an incredible effort to receive more than 10,000 people safely through our Welcome Hub, and I’m pleased to have been able to meet delegates from our twin city Kyiv to reassure them of all the support we have in in place.
“During their stay we’ve been able to discuss some ideas for how we can continue to work with Kyiv, building on the cultural ties we have and which we’re strengthening.”