Oxford City Council has temporarily ended its twinning agreement with Russian city, Perm.

In a statement, the council states that leader of Oxford City Council, Susan Brown, has taken steps to end Oxford’s twin status with Perm “until such time as Russia’s breaches of international law cease”.

The twinning agreement is expected to officially end on Monday and the lord mayor of Oxford will ask the next Full Council meeting to endorse the decision.

The news come as a vandal struck the Russian city’s name off Oxford’s welcome sign on Botley Road with black tape this morning. 

READ MORE: 'Vandal' strikes Oxford's Russian twin city Perm off welcome sign as tensions run high

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been met with international outcry, with British businesses, organisations and public bodies ending their links with Russia.

Councillor Susan Brown said: “Oxford City Council utterly condemns the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian government led by President Putin. We are flying the Ukrainian flag to show that our thoughts and solidarity are with the Ukrainian people.  

“Oxford is proud of being a welcoming city, and we are ready to play our part to support Ukrainian refugees. The Government must show more urgency on providing a Ukrainian refugee programme, and make clear what support local councils can give. The changes in current migration visas are welcome, but millions of people now need refuge not just migration.

“This is a tragedy not just for the people of Ukraine, but also Russian citizens plunged into this war against democracy, and we also want to give our support to those Russians who are risking their own safety to oppose the invasion. I also know there are Russians living in Oxford today who despise Putin, but are also now feeling concerned for their own safety. I would ask all Oxford residents to show them courtesy and respect during this difficult time.

READ MORE: Ukraine: Councillor calls for Oxfordshire County Council to make statement

“Our lord mayor wrote in strong terms to the mayor of Perm condemning the invasion. We haven’t received a response to that letter. With the situation escalating and many thousands of lives being lost, we are, with a heavy heart, taking action to end our twinning agreement until such time as Russia’s appalling breaches of international law cease.

“Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people, and our Ukrainian residents in Oxford, at this incredibly difficult time.”

In the statement, the council also took the opportunity to restate its commitment to supporting refugees from Ukraine and around the world.

Oxford City Council is currently waiting for more information from Government on whether there will be a full resettlement programme for Ukrainian refugees, similar to that for Afghan refugees.

Weather permitting, the Ukrainian flag will fly until further notice, except on the dates when the Council has already committed to fly other flags.

A new decision of Council would be needed for the twinning agreement to be reinstated.


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