Arlington Reflects on Ukraine Sister City Support Efforts
Published on February 23, 2023
Feb. 24 marks the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the effects of the invasion profoundly impacting the Ukrainian people and the international community. Over the past year, Ukrainians have remained resilient and strong as they continue their fight for freedom against tremendous odds.
Ukraine has held its defense and resisted Russian influence with unwavering support from the U.S. and the international community. Arlington County is proud to be part of that community as we maintained a show of support and solidarity for Ukraine and Arlington’s sister city, Ivano-Frankivsk.
“As we recognize one year of conflict in Ukraine, Arlington proudly continues to stand with the people of Ukraine and our sister city, Ivano-Frankivsk. We applaud the resiliency, courage, and strength the people of Ukraine have shown the world in their struggle for democracy,” said County Board Vice-Chair Libby Garvey. “Many people in Ukraine today are living under unimaginable conditions as they fight for their freedom against the aggression and cruelty of another nation. The free world cannot let such aggression and cruelty stand, so, in many ways, they are fighting for all of us. On this one-year anniversary, we hope the people of Ukraine are heartened by the support they continue to receive from around the world, including here in Arlington.”
About Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
Ivano-Frankivsk, renamed in 1962 in honor of Ukrainian poet and writer Ivan Franko, has become one of Ukraine’s most innovative and modern cities. Arlington and Ivano-Frankivsk share several similarities including a population of approximately 230,000 residents and a size of 26 square miles (67 km²) and 32 square miles (83 km²), respectively. Much like Arlington, Ivano-Frankivsk has made major efforts to ensure that streets and public spaces are open, inviting, and accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.
Arlington and Ivano-Frankivsk were formally declared sister cities on March 4, 2011, when they signed the agreement. Since then, both communities have hosted government delegations, student exchange programs, and share information with public safety responders.
“Arlington’s response to the crisis in Ukraine is a powerful reminder to us of the importance of sister cities and the strength of the relationship between Arlington and Ivano-Frankivsk,” said Hanna Eun, Chair of the Arlington Sister City Association (ASCA)’s Board of Directors. “ASCA is an integral part of Arlington's international community that works to provide special programming, cultural promotion, and encouraging understanding between sister cities, especially during times of conflict. Whether it be in 2014 or 2022, Arlington and the Arlington community continue to promote global awareness and international support.”
Russia’s violence reached Arlington’s sister city when missiles struck the city’s airport on March 11, 2022, severely damaging the airport’s infrastructure. Days later, Russian troops shelled Ivano-Frankivsk for the third time and the city's airport was hit again and almost destroyed. The strike was carried out at 6:30 a.m., just after the end of the nationwide air alert.
Since the beginning of the invasion, ASCA has continued efforts in raising awareness for fundraising opportunities to aid Ukraine. “Since Russia's war against Ukraine began…the Arlington Sister City Association's Ivano-Frankivsk committee has been very active across the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area to support Ukraine, the Ukrainian community here, and our sister city of Ivano-Frankivsk,” said Sophia Tailor, ASCA’s Ivano-Frankivsk Committee President.
Committee members have attended local rallies and events and supported Ukrainian-owned businesses. Many members donated clothes, non-perishables, first aid kits, and childcare supplies to locations across Northern Virginia, which were then packed, labeled, and prepared for MEEST, an international shipping company that transports donations to the Polish-Ukrainian border for displaced people and refugees.
Since the Russian invasion, Arlington County has maintained a show of support for Ukraine and its sister city Ivano-Frankivsk. The Arlington County Board presented a resolution to the community on Feb. 28, 2022, stating: "In the spirit of friendship, understanding, and mutual respect of our cultures and histories, we believe it is important to speak out against unjust actions and demonstrate our support for our friends and partners.”
About Arlington Sister City Association
The Arlington Sister City Association (ASCA), established in 1991, supports and coordinates the activities of Arlington County’s sister cities, promoting the County’s international profile and creating long-lasting relationships while being committed to citizen diplomacy and cross-culture collaboration. Arlington’s five sister cities include Aachen, Germany; Reims, France; San Miguel, El Salvador; Coyoacán, Mexico; and Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine.
ASCA continues to foster productive exchanges in education, commerce, culture, and the arts with the County's sister cities, including Ivano-Frankivsk. If you are looking for ways to support the people of Ukraine, ASCA has identified trusted organizations that provide a variety of needs and services. Visit any of the websites listed below to discover more ways to support and give to Ukrainians.