“It’s very troubling and very heartbreaking to watch the news and hear the reports of what’s going on in Ukraine.”
Mayor Gerald Aalbers is sharing his thoughts as events continue to unfold in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
In September 2018, Lloydminster and the Ukrainian city of Nikopol were twinned with the understanding to foster cultural, economic and information exchanges.
Fast forward through the COVID months to 2022. Over that time, while the city has been able to gift Nikopol with some of its used fire equipment, the humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine is of concern to the city and Aalbers.
The mayor says he has had contact with his counterpart in Nikopol.
“I sent a letter last week and the mayor’s office replied and appreciated our thoughts and prayers. That’s what I was able to extend on behalf of the community. I said,’You are on the top of our minds from the perspective of the issues that you are facing today and the challenges.’ They were very much appreciative and that’s where we have left it at.”
Aalbers reflected on the relationship the city has been able to build with Nikopol over the short time since the Mayor Andriy Fisak visited the Border City. While Nikopol is more of an industrial city with mining and processing rather than oil, Aalbers noted that they can relate to the cyclical nature of the energy sector.
Aalbers is hopeful to one day visit the sister city.
“I was looking forward to some time hopefully having the opportunity to visit Nikopol and take a delegation from Lloydminster as well as work with the governments of Canada and Alberta, if that opportunity arose. But with the current events, we won’t be going anywhere for a little while for sure.”
In summation, Aalbers says the overall situation with Russia and Ukraine leaves a lot to be desired.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all Ukrainians and in particular our sister city Nikopol. I can’t imagine the stress that the residents and the municipality is under, trying to provide services and ensure the protection of their people.”
Aalbers encouraged residents to make use of the avenues through which they can direct support by way of donations.
Donations from the public in support of humanitarian efforts can be made to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress or through the Canadian Red Cross. The Government of Canada will match donations made between February 24th and March 18th up to a maximum of $10 million.