Mayor Lori Lightfoot sever ties between sister city Chicago and Moscow amid ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — As a large Russian military convoy closed in on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on Tuesday, and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the neighboring nation entered its sixth day, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she was severing the city’s “sister city” relationship with Moscow.

“In light of recent events and after reflection over the past few days, I believe that Chicago needs to go further in its definitive actions against Russia. That’s why yesterday I ordered World Business Chicago to suspend Chicago’s sister city relationship with Moscow. Although this is not a decision that I take lightly, we must send an unambiguous message: we strongly condemn all actions of the Putin regime. This suspension will be maintained until the end of hostilities against Ukraine and Putin’s regime will be held accountable for its crimes. We must continue to support freedom-loving people everywhere and ordinary Russians in their desire to be free,” Lightfoot said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

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The mayor’s announcement came less than a day after a group of 33 city council members, led by Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) – an outspoken Lightfoot critic – proposed a resolution calling on the city to revoke Chicago Sister City’s relationship with Moscow and urging other US cities to do the same. The proposal also called for revoking sister city status for any city in a country that expresses support for Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The proposed resolution was co-sponsored by Alds. Daniel La Spata (1st), Brian Hopkins (2nd), Anthony Beale (9th), Marty Quinn (13th), Edward Burke (14th), David Moore (17th), Matt O’Shea (19th), Jeanette Taylor (20th) , Howard Brookins (21st), Michael Rodriguez (22nd), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Michael Scott (24th), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Walter Burnett (27th), Chris Taliaferro (29th), Ariel Reboyras (30th), Felix Cardona (31st), Gilbert Villegas (36th), Emma Mitts (37th), Nicholas Sposato (38th), Samantha Nugent (39th), Andre Vasquez (40th), Anthony Napolitano (41st), Brendan Reilly (42nd), Michele Smith ( 43rd), Tom Tunney (44th), James Gardiner (45th), James Cappleman (46th), Matt Martin (47th), Harry Osterman (48th), Maria Hadden (49th) and Debra Silverstein (50th).

Chicago has a total of 29 sister cities around the world. Moscow has been a part of it since 1997, when Mayor Richard M. Daley formalized a sister cities agreement with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

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The Ukrainian capital of Kiev is also a sister city of Chicago. This agreement dates back even further to 1991 – before the dissolution of the Soviet Union – when Mayor Daley and Kyiv Mayor Grigory Malishevsky established a Sister Cities Agreement.

“Chicago’s Ukrainian-American community has played a major role in supporting the relationship. Community leaders hosted a dinner in the Ukrainian Village of Chicago honoring Kyiv dignitaries, including the mayor and deputy mayor,” said Chicago Sister Cities International. “Mayor Malishevsky also spoke at a Rotary luncheon and presented at the pre-conference seminar on urban redevelopment.

The Sister Cities program is set up to promote cultural exchange through arts and tourism, education, international trade and government exchanges – as well as to “foster cooperation and understanding through citizen diplomacy” .

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Amid the war in Ukraine, Chicago Sister Cities International and World Business Chicago released the following statement last week:

“Chicago is home to a large and proud Ukrainian American community. We stand in solidarity with Ukrainians here and around the world in favor of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. May the mission of Sister Cities to promote mutual respect, understanding and cooperation be today’s call to action for the world.

“The National Sister Cities Movement was founded by President Eisenhower, after World War II and during the Cold War, with the goal of promoting peace and understanding by fostering connections between people from different parts of the world.

“Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI), the nation’s largest and most active sister cities program, has 600 volunteer citizen diplomats who are dedicated to strengthening ties between Chicago and its 29 international sister cities.

“Chicago and Kyiv have been sister cities since 1991, the same year Ukraine gained independence. Since then, Chicago and Kyiv have shared a long history of friendship and cooperation. Today, Chicago is home to a large and proud Ukrainian American community.

“Since 1997, Chicago and Moscow have also been sister cities. CSCI’s Kyiv and Moscow Committees are saddened by current events, condemn acts of aggression against Ukraine, and pledge to promote understanding through citizen-to-citizen diplomacy.

“Our work at Chicago Sister Cities International is more vital than ever, bringing our communities together in the mission to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation through citizen diplomacy – one individual, one community at a time. As President Eisenhower said, “If we are going to capitalize on the assumption that all people want peace, then the problem is that people get together and jump governments – if necessary to evade governments – to finding not one method, but thousands of methods by which people can gradually learn a little more about each other.


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